Some of the costs of prescribing antidepressant drugs over the last decade could have been used to deliver psychological treatments of proven effectiveness, finds a study published online by the BMJ today.
Prescribing of antidepressant drugs has risen dramatically in the United Kingdom since the early 1990s. Cognitive behaviour therapy is an effective alternative to drugs, but has not been developed for widespread use.
Using Department of Health prescribing data, researchers at the University of Bristol estimated the number of patients that could have been treated with cognitive behavioural therapy in 2002, had the rise in prescribing not occurred and the associated costs been diverted to psychological treatment and therapists.
Between 1991 and 2002, prescriptions per head for all antidepressants increased almost three-fold and the total cost (adjusted for inflation) increased by 310m. These costs could have been used to deliver cognitive behaviour therapy to 1.54 million patients, more than a third of the adults in the UK with depression or mixed anxiety depression.
Despite some limitations, this analysis highlights the scale of resources expended in this area. The results indicate that development of psychological therapies is a feasible alternative to antidepressants, say the authors.
There is a clear need for further research to establish the most appropriate balance between drugs and non-pharmacological treatments for depression, they conclude.
Page: 1 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Emma Dickinson
BMJ-British Medical Journal
. Costs for surgical treatment of GERD not offset by savings on medications2
. Costs of caring for elders with dementia3
. Costs of family caregiving for elderly with cancer are significant, often forgotten4
. Costs of treating patients on clinical trials are not higher than costs of standard treatment, study suggests5
. Kidney Transplants From Living Donors Reduce Long-Term Costs Of Care6
. Mayo Clinic Study Finds Costs For Cancer Clinical Trials Comparable To Costs For Standard Treatment7
. Low-Tech Devices, Home Adaptations Preserve Independence, Reduce Health-Care Costs For Physically Frail Elderly8
. Patient Characteristics And The Way Patients Are Treated Have Impact On Hospital Costs Of Liver Transplants9
. Disabilities Dont Raise Insurance Costs10
. Study Indicates That Medicare Costs Are Higher -- And Survival Rate Is Better --At Major Teaching Hospitals Survive Climate Change11
. Nurse Practitioners Reducing Costs, Expanding Care