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Open Access Research article

Antidepressant utilization after hospitalization with depression: a comparison between non-Western immigrants and Danish-born residents

Helle Wallach-Kildemoes12, Louise Thirstrup Thomsen3, Margit Kriegbaum1, Jørgen Holm Petersen4 and Marie Norredam35*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Healthy Ageing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

2 Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

3 Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health, Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

4 Section for Biostatistics, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

5 Section of Immigrant Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:77  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-77

Published: 17 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Antidepressant (AD) therapy is recommended for patients 4–12 months after remission from depression. The aim was to examine whether immigrants (refugees or family reunited immigrants) from non-Western countries are at greater risk than Danish-born residents of 1) not initiating AD therapy after discharge and 2) early AD discontinuation.

Methods

A cohort of immigrants from non-Western countries (n = 132) and matched Danish-born residents (n = 396) discharged after first admission with moderate to severe depression between 1 January 1996 and 31 May 2008 was followed in the Danish registries.

Logistic regression models were applied to explore AD initiation within 30 days after discharge, estimating odds ratio (OR) for immigrants versus Danish-born residents.

Early discontinuation was explored by logistic regression, estimating OR for no AD dispensing within 180 days after the first dispensing, and by Cox regression, estimating hazard ratio (HR) for discontinuation (maximum drug supply gap) within 180 days.

Results

Immigrants had higher odds for not initiating AD treatment after discharge than Danish-born residents (OR = 1.55; 95% CI: 1.01-2.38). When income was included in the model, the strength of the association was attenuated. Odds for early discontinuation was non-significantly higher among immigrants than Danish-born residents (OR = 1.80; 0.87-3.73). Immigrants also had a non-significantly higher hazard of early discontinuation (HR = 1.46; 95% CI: 0.87-2.45). Including income had only minor impact on these associations.

Conclusion

Immigrants seem less likely to receive the recommended AD treatment after hospitalization with depression. This may indicate a need for a better understanding of the circumstances of this vulnerable group.

Keywords:
Immigrants; Post-remission; Antidepressant; Ethnic disparities; Health care