Key points on depression
Depression is a common problem in primary care, ranking second after hypertension among the chronic problems most frequently seen by Australian general practitioners during 2010–11.1,2
The NPS program Depression — challenges in primary care covers current guidance for health professionals on managing depression.
- Assess the severity of depressive symptoms to inform treatment decisions.
- Consider non-drug treatments first in minor or mild depression and alongside antidepressants in more severe depression.
- Consider an antidepressant for moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder.
- Assess the specific risks of antidepressants in older people (> 65 years), including comorbidities, drug interactions and reduced clearance.
- Advise patients what to expect from antidepressant treatment.
NPS Prescribing Practice Review 58 gives practical advice for health professionals and the supporting evidence.
- Britt H, Miller GC, Charles J, et al. General practice activity in Australia 2010-2011. General practice series no.29. 2011. http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/7772/4/9781920899868_CDROM.pdf (accessed 17 May 2012).
- Harrison C, Charles J. Mental health. General practice in Australia, health priorities and polices 1998-2008. General practice series no 24. Cat No GEP 24. Canberra: AIHW, 2009. http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/gep/gep-24-10721/gep-24-10721-c14.pdf (accessed 17 May 2012).