Nonpharmacologic interventions for treatment-resistant depression in adults. Comparative Effectiveness Review Number 33. AHRQ Publication No. 11-EHC056-EF
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common and costly. Over the course of a year, between 13.1 million and 14.2 million people will experience MDD. Approximately half of these people seek help for this condition, and only 20 percent of those receive adequate treatment. For those who do initiate treatment for their depression, approximately 50 percent will not adequately respond following acute-phase treatment; this refractory group has considerable clinical and research interest. Patients with only one prior treatment failure are sometimes included in this group, but patients with two or more prior treatment failures are a particularly important and poorly understood group and are considered to have treatment-resistant depression (TRD). These TRD patients represent a complex population with a disease that is difficult to manage.
Patients with TRD incur the highest direct and indirect medical costs among those with MDD. These costs increase with the severity of TRD. Treatment-resistant patients are twice as likely to be hospitalized, and their cost of hospitalization is more than six times the mean total costs of depressed patients who are not treatment resistant. After considering both medical and disability claims from an employer’s perspective, one study found that TRD employees cost $14,490 per employee per year, whereas the cost for non-TRD employees was $6,665 per employee per year.