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Linked EHR, Claims Data Provide Glimpse of Real-World Antidepressant Adherence

September 12, 2020

Patients with major depressive disorder had significantly lower odds of filling a written prescription for a new antidepressant if they were nonwhite and antidepressant-naïve, and if the prescription was for an index serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), according to an investigation that tapped electronic health record (EHR) and administrative claims data. 

Researchers presented their findings in a poster at Psych Congress 2020.

“Linked EHR and claims data provide an opportunity to measure primary adherence in a real-world setting by comparing prescriptions written with pharmacy claims,” researchers wrote. 

The study included 3314 patients with major depressive disorder with a new prescription for an SNRI, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), or a tricyclic antidepressant in the EHR. 

Compared with 71% of antidepressant-experienced patients who filled their prescription for an index antidepressant during follow-up, just 57% of an antidepressant-naïve patients did so, claims data showed.

Adjusted odds ratios for primary adherence to a new antidepressant prescription were 0.56 for patients who were not white, 0.51 for those who were antidepressant-naïve, and 0.79 for those prescribed an index SNRI, compared with an SSRI, according to the poster abstract.

“These results represent an opportunity to target supportive services to patients at risk of nonadherence,” researchers advised. 

Optum sponsored the study.

—Jolynn Tumolo


Halpern R, Buysman E, Cisternas MG, Martin C, Frazer M. Measuring antidepressant primary adherence among insured patients with major depressive disorder using linked electronic health record and administrative claims data. Poster presented at Psych Congress 2020; September 10-13, 2020; Virtual.

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