Depressed, HIV-Positive Patients Who Take Antidepressants More Likely To Comply With AIDS Drug Regimens, Study Says
Among clinically depressed, HIV-positive patients seen at public health clinics in Denver, those taking antidepressants were more likely than those not taking the drugs to comply with their antiretroviral drug regimens, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Arthur Davidson, director of the Denver Center for Public Health Preparedness, and colleagues studied 1,713 HIV-positive patients ages 12 and older who were seen at clinics between 1997 and 2001. About 57% of the patients had been diagnosed with depression, and the researchers studied the medical and pharmacy records of the patients to determine their compliance with antiretroviral and antidepressant drug regimens. Of the patients who had been diagnosed as depressed, about half had refilled antidepressant prescriptions at least twice. According to the researchers, more than two-thirds of patients who took antidepressants regularly adhered to their antiretroviral drug regimens, compared with about 31% of depressed patients who did not take antidepressants regularly. Although the researchers said that patients' adherence to both antidepressant and antiretroviral regimens might "reflect certain individuals' natural tendency to closely follow their prescribed care," they said previous research has indicated that untreated depression is associated with medication nonadherence, Reuters Health reports. The researchers concluded, "Attention to diagnosis and treatment of depressive disorders in this population may improve antiretroviral adherence and ultimate survival." However, Davidson said more research is needed to confirm the study's results, Reuters Health reports (Norton, Reuters Health, 4/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.