Satisfaction With Medication Is Correlated With Outcome but Not Persistence in Patients Treated With Placebo, Escitalopram, or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors: A Post Hoc Analysis



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Objective: To test whether satisfaction with taking medication, assessed using item 15 of the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q), is associated with clinical outcome and persistence with treatment.

Method: In this post hoc analysis, data were analyzed from 4 randomized placebo-controlled studies of patients with major depressive disorder treated with escitalopram (650 patients taking escitalopram and 534 taking placebo), together with data from 2 randomized trials of escitalopram versus venlafaxine or duloxetine (235 patients taking escitalopram and 233 taking a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). The studies were published between 2002 and 2007. Instruments included the Q-LES-Q, which was assessed at baseline and week 8, and the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), which was assessed at baseline and weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8.

Results: At baseline, the mean ± SD MADRS total score was 30.0 ± 4.6, and the mean Q-LES-Q item 15 score was 2.9 ± 0.9. At week 8, the MADRS response rates of placebo-treated patients with a low, moderate, or high satisfaction with medication at baseline were 30%, 37%, and 46%, respectively (mixed model repeated measures [MMRM]). The corresponding MADRS response rates for escitalopram-treated patients with a low, moderate, or high satisfaction at baseline were 56%, 60%, and 67%, respectively (MMRM). Baseline satisfaction with medication was not significantly correlated with time to withdrawal (all reasons). The change in satisfaction with medication from baseline to endpoint was significantly correlated with symptomatic improvement on the MADRS (P < .001).

Conclusions: Baseline satisfaction with medication after 1 week of placebo run-in is a moderator of treatment outcome but not of persistence of treatment in the acute treatment phase of depressed outpatients. Patient attitude toward medication should be taken into account before treatment is initiated.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(4):doi:10.4088/PCC.10m01080

Submitted: September 6, 2010; accepted January 31, 2011.

Published online: July 28, 2011 (doi:10.4088/PCC.10m01080).

Corresponding author: Koen Demyttenaere, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium (

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2011;13(4):doi:10.4088/PCC.10m01080