EFFICACY OF DEPRESSION MANAGEMENT IN PRIMARY CARE
Background: Depression is the most common mental health problem seen in primary care affecting the community and especially women. Long-term follow-up should be provided because of relapse and non-remission risk. Although depression is considered as a chronic disease, no research has been conducted concerning its management and long-term follow-up in primary care. This study was performed to evaluate the efficacy and the effectiveness of the treatment of depression dealt with in our primary care out-patient clinic.
Method: Out of 78 major depressive patients seen in our outpatient clinic, 45 could be reached and were invited to participate in the study. 28 patients (62.2%) accepted to participate (group 1). A random sample of 250 adults within the patient records were invited as the control group and 166 (66.4%) accepted to participate. 130 subjects without any history of depression were assigned as group 2, whereas 36 of the subjects with a history of depression were assigned as the third group. Beck Depression Inventory was applied to all three groups.
Results: Of 184 participants, 91.8% were female, mean age was 45.9±13.3 years, and 85.8% of them were married. Mean follow-up time in group 1 was 24.3±8.0 months. Beck depression scores in group 1 were lower than group 3 although no statistical difference could be shown between all 3 groups. Uninterrupted medication use and period of medication were similar between group 1 and group 3. The subjects were also compared concerning treatment stage and no difference was found. The most frequently used medications were tianeptin, sertralin and amitriptilin. However anxiolytics and antipsychotic drugs were used less in group 1 than in group 3.
Conclusion: Our results are promising and show that depression can be effectively managed in primary care. Effective follow-up and treatment of depression in primary care is crucial in handling this disease.