Background. Many patients with major depression are non-adherent to antidepressant medication and do not receive care according to current guidelines. There is increasing evidence that treatment of depression in primary care can be improved. Comparison between effective interventions may help to establish the active ingredients of such interventions.
Method. In a randomized trial two interventions to improve treatment of major depression in primary care were compared (1) a depression care programme, targeting general practitioners (GPs), patients, and systematic follow-up, and (2) a systematic follow-up programme. Thirty GPs were randomized and 211 primary-care patients with current major depression were included. All patients were prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Outcome measures included adherence to antidepressant medication, and depression outcome.
Results. No significant differences in adherence rates and treatment outcome measures were demonstrated between interventions at week 10 or week 26. Adherence rates were high and treatment outcome was favourable.
Conclusions. The depression care programme was not superior to the systematic follow-up programme. Systematic follow-up in depression treatment in primary care seems to be an intervention per se, having the potential to improve adherence and treatment outcome.