Literature reviews suggest limited evidence of efficacy of antidepressant medication in patients with advanced cancer. This study was carried out to observe the longitudinal effect of antidepressant medication in a cohort of advanced cancer patientsMethod
Patients were recruited from hospice day care settings and followed up longitudinally by series of measures for depression for 6 months or until deathResultsSix hundred and twenty nine patients recruited. One hundred and fifty six patients in total (25%) were receiving antidepressant medication for a median of 9.5 weeks ( range 0 - 36 weeks) and a mean of 12.2 weeks. There was no significant difference in scores on depression measures over time for patients receiving antidepressant medicationConclusions
Antidepressant medication for advanced cancer patients appeared to have little impact on depression scores . We postulate the holistic approaches within hospice day care may in themselves be interventions for depression thereby masking effect of pharmacological treatment. Further research should explore multi intervention models for management of depression in advanced cancer.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 06/2013;