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Impact of antidepressant treatment: a study from The Netherlands
Nadine van Dongen,1 Scott Mason2
1PIP Health Ltd, London, United Kingdom; 2London Metropolitan University, London, United Kingdom
Background: The purpose of the study was to identify the extent and severity of treatment-related side effects experienced by patients with depression. The study was designed to identify the extent of the different antidepressant side effects to gain an understanding of their impact on the lives of patients suffering from depression.
Methods: A total of 303 patients from The Netherlands with physician-diagnosed depression completed an online questionnaire. All participating patients were receiving antidepressants and were members of the Patient Intelligence Panel (PIP). Participants answered questions about their antidepressant medication, degree of personal research into antidepressant medication, and about any side effects they had experienced as a result of their current antidepressant therapy, the severity of any such side effects, and the impact on their daily lives.
Results: Over two-thirds (69%) of patients were receiving antidepressant therapy for the first time. Forty-two percent (42%) of patients felt it took 2–6 weeks of antidepressant therapy before their depressive mood improved. More than half of participating patients (60%) had experienced side effects from their antidepressant therapy, the most common being ‘somnolence, drowsiness, or fatigue’ (14%). Of the 60% of patients who had experienced side effects, 46% admitted to absenteeism as a consequence.
Conclusion: Central to the effective management of depression is an understanding of the effects of antidepressant therapy on patients’ lives. Treatment-related side effects, and their potential influence on treatment discontinuation, need to be recognized and assessed on an individual patient basis to optimize management and minimize potential relapse.
Keywords: depression, antidepressants, SSRI, side effects, The Netherlands
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