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Medication received by patients with depression following the acute episode: adequacy and relation to outcome

  • Rajini Ramana (a1), Eugene S. Paykel (a2), Paul G. Surtees (a3), David Melzer (a4) and Mitul A. Mehta (a5)...



The adequacy of pharmacotherapy received in practice by patients after an acute episode of depression has been little studied.


To describe and assess adequacy of drug continuation and maintenance in patients with depression.


Patients with depression were interviewed 18 months after discharge from hospital. Quantitative assessments of drug treatment doses and compliance were made monthly over this period, and qualitative ratings in continuation and maintenance phases.


About 20% of patients were prescribed low drug doses after discharge and 10% were prescribed no drugs at all. Reported compliance was around 70%. About 30% failed to receive adequate longer-term treatment, mostly due to the continuation phase being too short. Deficiencies of dosage and compliance were greater in patients who never achieved full recovery. Patient refusal was the most common reason for not using antidepressants. Further episodes of depression were not particularly associated with inadequate treatment.


There were deficiencies in drug treatment that did not appear to be the principal cause of further episodes but may be important in non-recovery. Patient fears require discussion.


Corresponding author

Rajini Ramana, Fulbourn Hospital. Fulbourn, Cambridge CB1 5EF


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Declaration of interest Study supported by the East Anglian Regional Health Authority.



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Medication received by patients with depression following the acute episode: adequacy and relation to outcome

  • Rajini Ramana (a1), Eugene S. Paykel (a2), Paul G. Surtees (a3), David Melzer (a4) and Mitul A. Mehta (a5)...
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