January 19, 2012

Treating Diabetes and Depression with a Double-Decker Approach

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Diabetes and depression are often seen together. Patients who have both conditions are less likely to adhere to their medication regimens, and their overall health and prognosis are worse. However a new study suggests that simultaneous treatment of both, depression and diabetes, increases the outcome for these patients. The study results were published in the January/February issue of The Annals of Family Medicine.

There is an undeniable link between depression and diabetes – as depression is a risk factor for diabetes, diabetes also increases the risk for the onset of depression. Research out of the University of Pennsylvania showed that patients treated for type 2 diabetes and depression, at the same time, had a nearly 60% success rate compared with patients who were treated for only type 2 diabetes.

The study consisted of 180 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and depression – divided into 2 groups. The patients treated diabetes and depression with medication. One group received usual care. The other group received integrated care intervention. The integrated care intervention group worked with physicians to offer education and┬áconsultation to assist with adherence to prescribed medication regimens.

After 12 weeks of monitoring for medication adherence, more than 60% of  the integrated care intervention group had improved blood sugar test results and 58% had reduced depression symptoms, compared to only 36% and 31%, respectively, of patients receiving usual care.

The study concluded that the treatment of type 2 diabetes and depression, at the same time, was successful at improving outcomes in patients. Further studies need to be done to facilitate its deployment in real-world practices.

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