The gold standard for treatment of depression is psychotherapy along with drugs.
However, a new study from Thomson Reuters research service finds that half of the American children and teenagers who are taking antidepressants are not in psychotherapy.
The Thomson group analyzed insurance claims that were filed between 2002 and 2006 from a database of 6.8 million people under age 18. They found that of those who made at least one insurance claim for an antidepressant prescription, only 40 percent had also made claims for one or more therapy sessions. The researchers acknowledged that some parents may be paying for therapy out-of-pocket, and some insurance policies do not cover psychotherapy.
"Therapy with antidepressants is the standard of care," said Dr. Sheila Marcus, child and adolescent psychiatry chief at the University of Michigan Medical School. "But is this what's going on in the real world? No."
The Thomson study comes during a congressional investigation into relationships between influential academicians and drug companies. The inquiry has found that some leading researchers at prestigious universities, including Harvard and Stanford, have conflicts of interest - they are performing studies that determine whether drugs are effective, while at the same time receiving large sums of money from drug companies.
For example, the congressional committee recently reviewed the case of Dr. Charles Nemeroff, who failed to report $1.2 million in income to his employer, Emory University, between 2000 and 2007. Dr. Nemeroff received more than $170,000 from GlaxoSmithKline in 2004, even though he agreed to take no more than $10,000 a year from that company in one year.
"After questioning twenty doctors and research institutions, it looks like problems with transparency are everywhere," Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said. "The current system for tracking financial relationships is not working."
Labels: antidepressants, medications, therapy
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