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Social support has been shown to be an important factor in improving depression symptom outcomes, yet less is known regarding its impact on antidepressant medication adherence. This study sought to evaluate the role of perceived social support on adherence to new antidepressant medication prescriptions in later-life depression.
Data from two prospective observational studies of participants ≥60 years old, diagnosed with depression, and recently prescribed a new antidepressant (N = 452). Perceived social support was measured using a subscale of the Duke Social Support Index and medication adherence was assessed using a validated self-report measure.
At four-month follow up, 68% of patients reported that they were adherent to antidepressant medication. Examining the overall sample, logistic regression analysis demonstrated no significant relationship between perceived social support and medication adherence. However, when stratifying the sample by social support, race, and gender, adherence significantly differed by race and gender in those with inadequate social support: Among those with low social support, African-American females were significantly less likely to adhere to depression treatment than white females (OR = 4.82, 95% CI = 1.14–20.28, p = 0.032) and white males (OR = 3.50, 95% CI = 1.03–11.92, p = 0.045).
There is a significant difference in antidepressant medication adherence by race and gender in those with inadequate social support. Tailored treatment interventions for low social support should be sensitive to racial and gender differences.
Lithium was associated with significantly reduced non-suicide mortality in the intent-to-treat cohort over 0–90 days (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.67, 95% CI 0.51–0.87) but not longer. In secondary analyses, a sizeable reduction in mortality was observed during active treatment with lithium across all time periods studied (for example 365-day HR = 0.62, 95% CI 0.45–0.84), but significantly increased risks were observed among patients discontinuing lithium by 180 days (HR = 1.54, 95% CI 1.01–2.37).
Patients initiating lithium had lower non-suicide mortality over 0–90 days than patients initiating valproate and consistently lower non-suicide mortality among patients maintaining treatment, but elevated risk among patients discontinuing treatment by 180 days. Although residual confounding or selection effects cannot be excluded, this study suggests potential benefits to enhancing lithium treatment persistence and the monitoring of patients discontinuing lithium. There is a need for further research.
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