Researchers Lead First-Line Therapy In Treatment For Major Depression

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Decision Resources finds that Forest Laboratories' Lexapro and generics-dominated fluoxetine lead first-line therapy in the treatment of major depression. According to the new report entitled Treatment Algorithms in Major Depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which include Lexapro and Prozac, account for 63.6 percent of patients on first-line therapy.

Surveyed physicians indicate the reasons for SSRIs being so heavily used are efficacy, cost and physician familiarity. Eighty percent of surveyed psychiatrists and seventy percent of surveyed primary-care physicians (PCPs) said the reason why they chose SSRIs over benzodiazepines is efficacy. The major reason 49 percent of surveyed psychiatrists chose SSRIs over serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) is cost, while 49 percent of PCPs say they chose SSRIs over SNRIs owing to familiarity with the former class.

The report also finds that psychiatrists and PCPs do not all agree on what the most effective drugs are for treatment of major depression; therefore there is significant variation in the choice of agents, with no clear dominant player. Forty four percent of surveyed PCPs say SSRIs are more effective than SNRIs, but 72 percent of psychiatrists believe the opposite. Sixty two percent of surveyed PCPs think Lexapro's efficacy against depression is a major reason to choose it, but only 24 percent of surveyed psychiatrists agree.

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"We project a significant increase in the use of SNRIs in first-line therapy in the next two years," said Michael Malecki, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources. "Forty five percent of surveyed psychiatrists and forty eight percent of surveyed PCPs say they will more frequently prescribe SNRIs in first line. We believe that generic forms of Wyeth's Effexor XR will help make SNRIs more cost effective, thus driving the use of this class in early therapy."

About Treatment Algorithm Insight Series

Decision Resources combines in-depth primary research with the most extensive claims-based longitudinal patient-level data from PharMetrics to provide exceptional insight into physicians' prescribing trends and the factors that drive therapy product choice, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease.

For each disease examined, Decision Resources' Treatment Algorithms Insight Series provides:

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