Does depression screening have an effect on the diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders in general medical settings? an instrumental variable analysis of the national ambulatory medical care survey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the association of depression screening with the diagnoses of mood disorders and prescription of antidepressants in 73,712 visits to nonpsychiatrist physician offices drawn from the 2005-2007 U.S. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Physicians used depression screening selectively for patients whom they perceived as more likely to have a mood disorder. In bivariate probit analyses with instrumental variables, depression screening did not increase the prevalence of either mood disorder diagnoses or prescription of antidepressants. However, screening was associated with lower rates of antidepressants prescription without a diagnosis of a mood disorder. In visits in which antidepressants were prescribed, 47.4% of the screened visits compared with 16.3% of nonscreened visits had a mood disorder diagnosis. As currently practiced in medical settings, depression screening may help improve targeting and appropriate use of antidepressant medications. Wider use of depression screening may help curb the growing trend of off-label antidepressant prescriptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-489
Number of pages28
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Keywords

  • antidepressants
  • depression
  • depression screening
  • depression treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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