Symptoms of depression, prescription of benzodiazepines, and the risk of death in hemodialysis patients in Japan

Kidney Int. 2006 Nov;70(10):1866-72. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2006 Oct 4.


Many hemodialysis patients in Japan have symptoms of depression, but whether those patients are treated appropriately is unknown. As part of the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study, data on symptoms of depression, physician-diagnosed depression, prescribed medications, and death were collected prospectively in cohorts in Japan (n=1603) and 11 other countries (n=5872). Symptoms of depression were as prevalent in Japan as elsewhere, but in Japan a much smaller percentage of patients had physician-diagnosed depression: only 2% in Japan vs 17% elsewhere. Antidepressants were much less commonly prescribed in Japan: only 1% in Japan vs 17% elsewhere for patients with many and frequent symptoms of depression, and 16% in Japan vs 34% elsewhere for patients with physician-diagnosed depression. In Japan, symptoms of depression were associated with prescription of benzodiazepines (without antidepressants), and patients with physician-diagnosed depression were twice as likely to be given benzodiazepines: 32% in Japan vs 16% elsewhere. Benzodiazepine monotherapy was associated with death (relative risk 1.56, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-1.94), even after adjustments for 13 likely confounders (relative risk 1.27, 95% CI, 1.01-1.59). Hemodialysis patients in Japan with symptoms of depression are given not antidepressants but benzodiazepines, a practice associated with higher mortality.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / mortality*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality
  • Renal Dialysis / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Benzodiazepines