Background: This article describes the development of consensus medication algorithms for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder in the Texas public mental health system. To the best of our knowledge, the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) is the first attempt to develop and prospectively evaluate consensus-based medication algorithms for the treatment of individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses. The goals of the algorithm project are to increase the consistency of appropriate treatment of major depressive disorder and to improve clinical outcomes of patients with the disorder.
Method: A consensus conference composed of academic clinicians and researchers, practicing clinicians, administrators, consumers, and families was convened to develop evidence-based consensus algorithms for the pharmacotherapy of major depressive disorder in the Texas mental health system. After a series of presentations and panel discussions, the consensus panel met and drafted the algorithms.
Results: The panel consensually agreed on algorithms developed for both nonpsychotic and psychotic depression. The algorithms consist of systematic strategies to define appropriate treatment interventions and tactics to assure optimal implementation of the strategies. Subsequent to the consensus process, the algorithms were further modified and expanded iteratively to facilitate implementation on a local basis.
Conclusion: These algorithms serve as the initial foundation for the development and implementation of medication treatment algorithms for patients treated in public mental health systems. Specific issues related to adaptation, implementation, feasibility testing, and evaluation of outcomes with the pharmacotherapeutic algorithms will be described in future articles.