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Original Research

Improved Health-Related Quality of Life and Reduced Productivity Loss After Treatment With Bupropion Sustained Release: A Study in Patients With Major Depression

David L. Dunner, M.D.; W. Jacqueline Kwong, Pharm.D.; Trisha L. Houser; Nathalie E. Richard; Rafe M. J. Donahue, Ph.D.; and Zeba M. Khan, Ph.D.

Published: February 1, 2001

Article Abstract

Background: This open-label portion of a 2-phase study assessed the effects of the antidepressant bupropion sustained release (SR) on health-related quality of life (QOL) and workplace productivity in patients with major depression.

Method: Patients (N = 816) with DSM-IV major depression were treated with bupropion SR, 300 mg/day, for 8 weeks. The Clinical Global Impressions scale for Improvement of Illness (CGI-I) was completed at weekly clinic visits. At baseline and week 8, QOL and productivity were assessed. QOL was assessed using the Quality of Life in Depression Scale (QLDS).

Results: QOL and productivity were significantly improved from baseline after 8 weeks of treatment with bupropion SR. Mean QLDS scores were 18.98 and 10.36 at baseline and week 8, respectively (mean change = 8.62; p < .001). At week 8 compared with baseline, patients working at a paid job reported missing 1.58 fewer hours of work because of depression during the past 7 days, being 14.6% more effective on the job, working at reduced effectiveness less often, and incurring 6.37 fewer hours of overall lost productivity (p < .001 each variable). Improvements in QOL and productivity were significantly (p < .001) greater in bupropion SR responders (i.e., those with CGI-I scores of “very much improved” or “much improved” during the last 3 weeks of open-label therapy) than in nonresponders.

Conclusion: Effective treatment of major depression with bupropion SR for 8 weeks is associated with improvements in QOL and reductions in lost workplace productivity. Patients who responded clinically to bupropion SR showed significantly greater improvements in these variables than those who did not respond.

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