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Smith BM, Weaver FM, Ullrich PM. Prevalence of depression diagnoses and use of antidepressant medications by veterans with spinal cord injury. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists. 2007 Aug 1; 86(8):662-71.
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to examine the prevalence of depression diagnoses among veterans with spinal cord injuries and disabilities (SCIandD) for a 3-yr period, and to characterize patterns of antidepressant medication use in this population. DESIGN: This study was a retrospective analysis of clinical and administrative data. The sample consisted of 3678 veterans with SCIandD who had received any health care at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility between fiscal years 1999 and 2001, a depression diagnosis, and complete data. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between patient characteristics, antidepressant types, and prescription patterns. RESULTS: Approximately 22% of veterans with SCIandD received a diagnosis of depression during at least one encounter with a healthcare provider. Of those diagnosed, 72% received antidepressant prescriptions. However, a large percentage (67%) did not continue antidepressant use for 6 mos. Patients started on a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor were more likely to have at least 6 mos of continuous use than patients started on other, newer antidepressants. CONCLUSIONS: Many veterans with SCIandD may not be receiving adequate treatment for depression. Veterans with SCIandD should be aggressively screened and treated for depression, and further research is necessary to determine which treatments for depression are most effective for persons with SCIandD.