[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Major depressive disorder (MDD) and adjustment disorder (AD) are common psychiatric disorders in cancer patients but are often overlooked in clinical oncology settings. We introduced a clinical screening program utilizing the Distress and Impact Thermometer (DIT) to identify MDD and AD in cancer outpatients receiving chemotherapy. This study assessed the usefulness of the screening program.
Pharmacists administered the DIT to consecutive patients undergoing chemotherapy at an outpatient clinic. Psychiatric treatment was recommended to all the patients with positive screening results. The proportion of patients referred to the Psychiatric Service during the program period was then compared with that during a usual care period.
Of the 520 patients who started chemotherapy during the 6-month program period, 5.0% (26/520) were referred to the Psychiatric Service and 2.7% (15/520) were diagnosed as having MDD or AD. No statistically significant difference in the referral rates was observed between the two periods (2.7 vs 1.0%, p = 0.46). However, the period from the first chemotherapy treatment until the visit to the Psychiatric Service was significantly shorter during the program period than during the period of usual care (12.9±13.2 days vs 55.6±17.6 days, p<0.001).
The proportion of patients referred to the Psychiatric Service for the treatment of MDD or AD during the program period was not different from that during the usual care period. However, the program was useful for introducing psychiatric treatment at an earlier stage. Further modifications to the program to improve the referral rate are necessary.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to describe the applicability and the dropout of the pharmacological treatment algorithm for major depressive disorder in patients with advanced cancer. Psychiatrists treated major depressive disorder in advanced cancer patients on the basis of the algorithm. For discussing the problems related to the algorithm, we reviewed the reasons for the non-application of the algorithm and the reasons for dropout of patients within a week of initiation of treatment. The algorithm was applied in 54 of 59 cases (applicability rate, 92%). The reasons for the non-application of the algorithm were as follows: the need to add a benzodiazepine to an antidepressant in 4 cases and the need to choose alprazolam despite the depression being moderate in severity, in order to obtain a rapid onset action and reduce anxiety in a patient with short prognosis. Nineteen of the 55 patients dropped out within a week of initiation of treatment based on the algorithm. Delirium was the most frequent reason for dropout. The applicability rate was high, but several problems were identified, including those related to the combination of antidepressants and benzodiazepines, pharmacological treatment of depression in patients with short prognosis, and delirium due to antidepressants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although depression is a prevalent and burdensome psychiatric problem in end-of-life cancer patients, little is known about its susceptibility to treatment, especially when patients reach very close to the end of life. This study was conducted to evaluate response rate of that end-of-life depression to psychiatric intervention and to assess the feasibility of conventional evidence-based pharmacological therapy for depression.
The medical records of 20 patients who were referred to the psychiatry division for major depressive disorder and died within 3 months after the referral were reviewed. The Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I) Scale was used for each case, and responders were defined as patients whose scores were much or very much improved. All pharmacological treatments were extracted, and the doses of the antidepressant prescribed were compared to their evidence-based-defined therapeutic doses.
Of the 20 patients, seven were responders, but no response was achieved when the survival time was less than 3 weeks. Most patients were treated with antidepressants, but the doses prescribed were far less than the defined doses, especially the doses of the tricyclic antidepreSsants (TCAs).
These results suggested that patients' survival time largely determines susceptibility to psychiatric treatment, and it is hard to achieve response in patients whose survival time was less than about 1 month. Implementation of conventional evidence-based pharmacological treatment is difficult, especially with TCAs, and various antidepressants, which can be administrated by other routes, are needed when oral intake is impossible.
Palliative and Supportive Care 04/2007; 5(1):3-9. · 0.98 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to obtain preliminary findings regarding psychiatric disorders and background characteristics among Japanese family members of cancer patients.
We investigated the psychiatric diagnosis and background factors of family members of cancer patients by analyzing the consultation data of patients referred to the Psychiatry Division, National Cancer Centre Hospital East, Japan.
Of a total of 1469 psychiatric consultation, 47 (3.2%) family members were referred, and 85% of them were spouses. The most common patient cancer site was the lung. Approximately one-half of the referred family encountered patients' end-of-life issues. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were adjustment disorders, followed by major depression.
These preliminary findings suggest that psychosocial support for family members is not fully delivered and development of a comprehensive support system for caregivers of cancer patients is an urgent issue in the clinical oncology setting in Japan.
Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2006; 36(5):329-32. · 1.75 Impact Factor