Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data in depression are limited. We studied the impact of antidepressant (AD) treatment on HRQoL outcomes in depressed patients and investigated factors associated with these outcomes in routine practice settings.
Methods: The Factors Influencing Depression Endpoints Research (FINDER) study was a 6-month, European, prospective, observational study, designed to estimate HRQoL in 3468 adult patients with a clinically diagnosed episode of depression at baseline and at 3 and 6-months after commencing AD treatment. HRQoL was assessed by the Medical Outcome Short-Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) and European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D). Regression analysis identified baseline and treatment variables independently and significantly associated with HRQoL outcomes.
Results: Most HRQoL improvement occurred within 3 months of starting treatment. Better HRQoL outcomes were strongly associated with fewer somatic symptoms at baseline, AD treatment taken and not switching within AD groups. Education and occupational status were also important. Depression variables (number of previous depressions and current episode duration) were consistently associated with worse HRQoL outcomes. Self-rated depression severity was associated with poorer outcomes on the SF-36 mental component only.
Limitations: As this was an observational study, the important finding that between and within AD group switching impacted HRQoL will need to be investigated in more controlled settings.
Conclusions: Receiving an AD treatment was associated with large improvements in HRQoL, but switching within AD groups was consistently associated with poorer outcomes. Somatic symptoms, including painful symptoms, are often present in depressed patients and appear to negatively impact HRQoL outcomes.