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Assessing disruptions in adherence to antidepressant treatments after breast cancer diagnosis. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2017 Jun;26(6):676-684



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PURPOSE: Long-term treatment with antidepressants can lessen the symptoms of depression, but health-related crises-such as a cancer diagnosis-may disrupt ongoing depression care. The study aims to estimate the effect of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on antidepressant adherence among women with depression.

METHODS: Using SEER-Medicare administrative claims, we identified women aged 65+ with newly diagnosed breast cancer between 2008 and 2011, who were diagnosed with depression and used antidepressants during the year before pre-diagnosis year. We compared antidepressant adherence among women with breast cancer to similar women without cancer using generalized estimation equations. Antidepressant adherence was estimated using the proportion of days covered 1 year before and after the index date.

RESULTS: We included 1142 women with breast cancer and pre-existing depression and 1142 matched non-cancer patients with pre-existing depression. Mean antidepressant adherence was similar for both groups in the year before and after the index date (all around 0.71); adherence decreased by approximately 0.01 following breast cancer diagnosis in cancer group, with similar reductions among non-cancer group (p = 0.19). However, substantial proportion of patients had inadequate adherence to antidepressants in the post-diagnosis period, and almost 40% of patients in each group discontinued antidepressants over the study period.

CONCLUSIONS: Antidepressant adherence was not associated with receiving a breast cancer diagnosis beyond what would have been expected in a similar cohort of women without cancer; however, adherence was poor among both groups. Ensuring adequate ongoing depression care is important to improve cancer care and patient quality of life in the long term. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Author List

Chou YT, Winn AN, Rosenstein DL, Dusetzina SB


Aaron Winn PhD Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy Administration department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Aged, 80 and over
Antidepressive Agents
Breast Neoplasms
Cohort Studies
Depressive Disorder
Medication Adherence
Retrospective Studies
SEER Program
United States
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a