Drs Chitre and Weaver share their finals thoughts, highlighting key contributors to long-term outcomes for patients with major depressive disorder.
Mona Chitre, PharmD, CGP: There are many contributors to long-term outcomes in members with MDD [major depressive disorder], and it spans social determinants of health. It spans access to high-quality care. [One contributor is] finding the right provider or therapist that works for them. Often, this is very individualized. Ensuring they have access to medications that they can afford and that they can be adherent on [is also important]. This often is a tricky balance of adverse effect vs effect. Finding the right medication can take time. That’s a key component to long-term adherence. [Another contributor is] that peer support group, which decreases the stigma of any mental health disorder, MDD specifically. The long-term outcomes encompass the entire ecosystem that a patient is in, whether it’s socially, at home, in their work environment, with their providers, or with the access to medication and treatments that they have.
Jay Weaver, PharmD, MPH: The background efficacy rates of the therapies are key to that long-term outcome improvement. There’s a gap. Some of these therapies still don’t work for a number of folks, despite being very helpful for the people they do help. That’s a key driver, along with all the comments made around access to the right providers and the right care are additional contributors to long-term outcomes. [It’s important to have] continuity of care between all those and the ability to connect the different pieces to the provider at the right time—data, information about the patient’s status, the plan, and the plan’s ability to follow up with the person and make sure they’re going to continue to seek care as they’re doing poorly and need advanced care, or doing better and need follow-up care. There’s a lot of opportunity in this space.
In closing, despite being a plan administrator, I’m first and foremost a health care provider and a human. Providing hope for people often isn’t seen as [important] as it is in this disease. Many people with this disorder sometimes consider ending their life because of the symptoms of the disease. Providing people with some type of hope to continue moving forward and working through their illness is pretty fundamental to us and to our existence.
Transcript edited for clarity.