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Early discontinuation of antidepressant treatment in adults is very common in the USA

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Q What is the rate of discontinuation of antidepressant treatment in adults with depression in the USA and what factors are associated with early discontinuation?


Embedded ImageDesign:

Retrospective cohort study.

Embedded ImageSetting:

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), USA, a national sample of the civilian population; 1996 to 2001.

Embedded ImagePopulation:

829 people aged 18 and over who had initiated antidepressant treatment for depression (DSM-IV or ICD-9) during the survey period. Exclusions: use of mood stabilising medications.

Embedded ImagePrognostic factors:

Sociodemographic characteristics.

Embedded ImageOutcomes:

Discontinuation of antidepressant treatment.

Embedded ImageFollow up period:

2.5 years.


Of adults treated with antidepressants, 42.4% discontinued medication within the first 30 days, and a further 30% discontinued medication within 31–90 days of starting treatment. …

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  • For correspondence: Dr M Olfson, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA; mo49{at}

  • Source of funding: Wyeth Research.


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