Conference Coverage

Antidepressant therapy after MI, stroke cut CVD events


Key clinical point: Make sure patients with newly diagnosed depression post-MI or stroke are getting adequate antidepressant therapy from their primary care physician or psychiatrist.

Major finding: Patients with a first MI or stroke subsequently diagnosed with major depressive disorder were 20% more likely to experience a recurrent cardiovascular event if their antidepressant therapy was judged insufficient than if adequate.

Study details: This was a retrospective cohort study of health insurance claims data for 1,568 patients with an initial diagnosis of MI or stroke who were subsequently diagnosed with and treated for major depressive disorder.

Disclosures: The presenter reported serving as a consultant to Pfizer, which funded the study.



– Although cardiologists and neurologists aren’t typically the physicians who diagnose and treat major depressive disorder that’s newly identified in patients after MI or stroke, they’re the ones who’ll deal with the cardiovascular consequences if the mood disorder isn’t adequately treated.

That was a key message of a study presented by interventional cardiologist Sripal Bangalore, MD, at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

In his retrospective cohort study of 1,568 patients diagnosed with and treated for major depressive disorder (MDD) following an initial acute MI or stroke, antidepressant therapy deemed inadequate by either of two prespecified measures was associated during a mean follow-up of 2 years with a 20% higher risk of the primary endpoint – a composite of recurrent MI, stroke, angina, or heart failure – than the risk in patients who received what was judged to be adequate antidepressant pharmacotherapy. A precondition for study inclusion was that a patient could not have been taking any antidepressant during the year prior to the index MI or stroke.

The study utilized nationwide claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan Claims Database for 2010-2015. Depression therapy was considered adequate if during the first 90 days following diagnosis of MDD two conditions were met: a patient aged 65 or younger had to be on the equivalent of at least 20 mg of fluoxetine per day, or if older then on a fluoxetine-equivalent dose of at least 10 mg/day, and pharmacy records had to indicate the patient was covered by the antidepressant prescription for at least 72 of those 90 days.

The prevalence of inadequate antidepressant therapy for MDD by these criteria among these patients with known cardiovascular disease was eyebrow-raisingly high: fully 60%, noted Dr. Bangalore of New York University.

In a multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for baseline factors that could affect the propensity to receive adequate antidepressant care, Dr. Bangalore and his coinvestigators broke down the risks of insufficient antidepressant therapy associated with each of the individual components of the composite primary endpoint. The 1.2- and 1.95-fold increased risks of stroke and angina, respectively, were statistically significant. However, the 1.37-fold higher risk of MI and 1.14-fold greater risk of heart failure than in adequately treated patients with MDD, while trending in the same direction, didn’t achieve significance.

Dr. Bangalore reported serving as a consultant to Pfizer, which funded the study, as well as to Abbott, Gilead Sciences, and Merck.

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