Even when treated, depression costs employers

WASHINGTON Tue Feb 9, 2010 3:05pm EST

A woman holds her head in a file photo. REUTERS/File

A woman holds her head in a file photo.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Workers with depression stay home sick more often than healthy colleagues, even when their disease is treated, according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Tuesday.

The report, commissioned by drug maker Sanofi Aventis, suggests that employers would benefit from better treatments of their workers for depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

"Even when depressed patients are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses. Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for savings to employers," the Thomson Reuters research team wrote in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

"Despite the widely acknowledged effectiveness of antidepressant therapy, productivity costs related to depression persist even after patients receive treatment," Suellen Curkendall, director of outcomes research at Thomson Reuters, said in a statement.

"This may be due to the fact that patients often don't respond to the first type of antidepressant that they are prescribed. They also may fail to take their medications on a regular basis," added Curkendall, who led the study.

Curkendall and colleagues analyzed insurance claims and employee health and productivity data for more than 22,000 patients treated with antidepressants and compared them to people without depression.

Workers who had been treated for depression were twice as likely as others to use short-term disability leave, they found. Disability-related costs for a year, on average, were $1,038 for patients treated for depression and $325 for the non-depressed workers.

"Over 40 percent of patients with depression were diagnosed with at least one of the other included psychiatric conditions besides depression," the researchers at Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, added.

Most common were anxiety, dissociative and so-called somatoform disorders -- a group of disorders with physical symptoms but no apparent physical cause.

Last month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients with very severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild to severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

At least 27 million Americans take antidepressants and more than 164 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in 2008, totaling nearly $10 billion in U.S. sales and $20 billion globally, according to IMS Health.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (3)
dee823 wrote:
Perhaps a high number of employees who deal with workplace bullies are treated for depression, and although the depression is treated the bullies are left to repeat offend, resulting in time taken off work.

Feb 09, 2010 11:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
logic wrote:
True, workplace abuse often goes unchecked.

I’m suspicious of any study commissioned by a drug manufacturer.

Also, the article fails to mention the alternatives availible to sufferers of mild to medium depression.

Feb 09, 2010 12:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Thermoguy wrote:
Our body uses and loses our weight divide by 2 in ounces everyday. If you weigh 200 lbs, you need to drink 100 ounces a day. If you don’t there is a domino effect that include symptoms like depression. In a recent medical program, a doctor said that dehydration can change your DNA. For those in doubt, take 2 plants and don’t water one.

I am not referring to bottled or distilled water. Distilled water is an insulator and bottled water has been cleaned so much, the electrical properties of the water are diminished. Considering each of your cells generates its own electricity, we need optimum conduction. Employees hydrating properly will enhance production and it should be part of education for all. Tap water is better than bottled water unless it is declared unsafe by an authority.

There is a doctor that did decades of work on hydration with eye opening results and he has books called “Your Not Sick, Your Thirsty”. His website is http://www.watercure.com
I did my own study where people drank their weight divided by 2 in ounces for 30 days and it was humbling to hear they had no more back pain, softer skin, hair, etc.

A student did a project where they took 3 plant bulbs and use different water, look at the difference in plant growth. http://www.thermoguy.com/pdfs/PiMag_Water_Test.pdf
Drink water as it was meant to be or the nutrition isn’t getting delivered and the garbage in our bodies isn’t getting taken out. Anything foreign to our body is a toxin and that includes pharmaceuticals.

Feb 10, 2010 11:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
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