Cough up for Just a Cup of Coffee: Pharmacoeconomics of Depression
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Depression is a chronic, relapsing, recurrent disorder, the fourth most important determinant of the global burden of disease, and the largest determinant of disability in the world. As patients do not seek treatment and when they do, efficacious treatments are not always used effectively, there is little hope of reducing this burden.
Comparing depression with other illnesses with high burden, such as coronary heart disease (CAD), cancer and AIDS, shows interesting patterns. The high–profile AIDS has a low lifetime prevalence of 0.2, compared to depression with a prevalence of 15 and the other two with a lifetime prevalence of around 6–7. A majority of people suffering from depression (more women) and AIDS (more men) are in their 20s to 40s, while CAD and cancer patients (equal men and women) are usually beyond the age of 45. CAD and cancer have a high recognition rate, variable treatability and survival rates, while AIDS has a high recognition rate, low treatability and low survival rate. In contrast, depression has a poor recognition rate, but excellent treatability and excellent survival rate with adequate treatment. In addition, the cost per year of treating depression is very low as compared to the other illnesses.