Depression, Comorbidities, and Prescriptions of Antidepressants in a German Network of GPs and Specialists with Subspecialisation in Anthroposophic Medicine: A Longitudinal Observational Study

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:508623. doi: 10.1155/2012/508623. Epub 2012 Dec 6.


Background. Depression is a major reason for counselling in primary care. Our study aims at evaluating pharmacological treatment strategies among physicians specialised in anthroposophic medicine (AM). Methods. From 2004 to 2008, twenty-two German primary care AM-physicians participated in this prospective, multicentre observational study. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with a prescription of any antidepressant medication. Results. A total of 2444 patients with depression were included (mean age: 49.1 years (SD: 15.4); 77.3% female). 2645 prescriptions of antidepressants for 833 patients were reported. Phytotherapeutic preparations from Hypericum perforatum were the most frequently prescribed antidepressants over all (44.6% of all antidepressants), followed by amitriptyline (16.1%). The likelihood of receiving an antidepressant medication did not depend on comorbidity after controlling for age, gender, physician specialisation, and type of depression (adjusted OR (AOR) = 1.01; CI: 0.81-1.26). Patients who had cancer were significantly less likely to be prescribed an antidepressant medication than those who had no cancer (AOR = 0.75; CI: 0.57-0.97). Conclusion. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of everyday practice for the treatment of depression in AM -physicians. Further analysis regarding the occurrence of critical combinations is of high interest to health services research.