Treatment outcomes for primary care patients with major depression and lifetime anxiety disorders

C Brown, H C Schulberg, M J Madonia, M K Shear, P R Houck
American Journal of Psychiatry 1996, 153 (10): 1293-300

OBJECTIVE: Major depression occurs with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder in up to 60% of psychiatric and primary care patients. This comorbidity has been associated with greater severity of depression, poorer psychosocial functioning, and poorer treatment outcomes in psychiatric samples. This study examined the clinical outcomes for depressed primary care patients with and without a lifetime anxiety disorder.

METHOD: A total of 157 primary care patients who met criteria for major depression were randomly assigned to standardized interpersonal psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy with nortriptyline and were assessed at baseline and at 4 and 8 months on severity of depression, psychosocial functioning, and health-related functioning.

RESULTS: Depressed patients with a comorbid anxiety disorder presented with significantly more psychopathology and tended to prematurely terminate treatment more frequently than patients with major depression alone. Both standardized depression-specific treatments were effective for depressed patients with and without a comorbid generalized anxiety disorder, although time to recovery was longer for the former. Patients with lifetime panic disorder showed poor recovery in response to psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS: Standardized psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are effective for patients with major depression with and without a generalized anxiety disorder. However, the longer time to recovery for the former group and lack of response to these treatments by patients with lifetime panic disorder suggest that primary care physicians should carefully assess history of anxiety disorder among depressed patients so as to select a proper intervention.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"