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Patient Perspectives on Once-Weekly Fluoxetine.

Rajinder Judge, MD

Published: January 8, 2001

Article Abstract

Background: Continuation therapy is recommended for 4 to 9 months following remission ofsymptoms of major depressive disorder. Long-term maintenance therapy is recommended for patientswith severe, recurrent symptoms. However, most patients do not complete an adequate course oftherapy. We investigated patient perceptions of antidepressant dosing to determine whether weeklydosing could provide an additional tool to help more patients remain compliant with antidepressanttreatment. Method: Physicians were asked to complete an anonymous patient profile for 7 patientscurrently receiving antidepressant treatment and to give those patients a questionnaire that the patientscould submit anonymously. In addition, clinically depressed patients in the United States and inFrance 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 antidepressantmedication, 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 agreedmost strongly with statements indicating that they considered once-weekly dosing more convenientthan daily dosing, that they believed taking 1 pill a week would make them feel less dependent onpills, 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 continuationor maintenance therapy longer when they have the option of weekly dosing.

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