Patient Perspectives on Once-Weekly Fluoxetine.

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Background: Continuation therapy is recommended for 4 to 9 months following remission of symptoms of major depressive disorder. Long-term maintenance therapy is recommended for patients with severe, recurrent symptoms. However, most patients do not complete an adequate course of therapy. We investigated patient perceptions of antidepressant dosing to determine whether weekly dosing could provide an additional tool to help more patients remain compliant with antidepressant treatment. Method: Physicians were asked to complete an anonymous patient profile for 7 patients currently receiving antidepressant treatment and to give those patients a questionnaire that the patients could submit anonymously. In addition, clinically depressed patients in the United States and in France were surveyed by telephone. Results: Patients surveyed by questionnaire agreed most strongly with statements indicating that they would like their doctor to involve them in the choice of antidepressant medication, that they did not want others to know they were taking antidepressant medication, and that they disliked the idea of taking daily medication. Patients in the telephone survey agreed most strongly with statements indicating that they considered once-weekly dosing more convenient than daily dosing, that they believed taking 1 pill a week would make them feel less dependent on pills, and that they perceived more advantages than disadvantages in taking 1 pill a week. Conclusion: Weekly antidepressant treatment may provide an effective tool in helping patients with depression. Positive patient perceptions of weekly dosing suggest that some patients may remain on continuation or maintenance therapy longer when they have the option of weekly dosing.

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(suppl 22):53-57