Antidepressant Use Among Seniors: Falling Through Medicare’s Doughnut Hole?
A new study links the gap in Medicare Part D coverage and cutbacks by seniors in using this and other medications.
Philadelphia Inquirer/HealthDay News: Medicare Coverage Gap May Cause Seniors To Forgo Antidepressants
The Medicare Part D drug plan's gap in coverage -- often referred to as the "donut hole" -- has long been a concern, and a new study links it to cutbacks by seniors in the use of antidepressants and other medications. An estimated 13 percent of seniors aged 65 and older suffer from depression, experts say. Antidepressants can stop depression from returning, but the Part D benefit -- especially the coverage gap -- "imposes a serious risk for discontinuing maintenance antidepressant pharmacotherapy among senior beneficiaries," the study authors found (Dotinga, 7/2).
Reuters: Antidepressant Use Falls In Medicare "Donut Hole"
When some older Americans with Medicare drug coverage reach the point where they have to pay full price for medications, many just stop taking their antidepressants -- raising their risk of depression relapses -- according to a new study. Researchers looking at the spending of some 22,000 Medicare beneficiaries with a depression diagnosis and "Part D" prescription drug benefits found the seniors' use of antidepressants dropped by about 12 percent when they hit the so-called donut hole in drug coverage (Seaman, 7/2).