Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Do Patients Take Their Antidepressant Meds?

Prescribing data, blood samples provided the answer

Electronic prescribing data served as a reasonable substitute for actual antidepressant use in an analysis of 109 individuals’ discarded blood samples.

Investigators selected the electronic health records of individuals diagnosed with or without major depressive disorder and prescribed sertraline, citalopram, bupropion, or venlafaxine. They then used anonymized blood draws taken within 14 to 90 days of treatment to assess detectable serum antidepressant levels.

17% of samples had no detectable levels of antidepressants. Individuals with public versus private insurance were more likely to have undetectable antidepressant levels, as were those receiving shorter-term prescriptions.

The authors concluded that up to 1 in 5 individuals prescribed an antidepressant may not be adherent.

Citation: Roberson A, Castro V, Cagan A, Perlis R. Antidepressant nonadherence in routine clinical settings determined from discarded blood samples. [Published online ahead of print November 24, 2015]. J Clin Psychiatry. doi: 10.4088/JCP.14m09612.