Study: Treating depression, diabetes at the same time may improve symptoms

NEW YORK — Patients that are simultaneously treated for Type 2 diabetes and depression are more likely to adhere to their medication and see improvement in their symptoms, compared with those receiving usual primary care, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania monitored patients over a 12-week period after randomly assigning them to an integrated care group — which included the combination of a primary care and a brief medication adherence program that was individualized to participants — or a usual primary care group. After 12 weeks of monitoring for medication adherence, 60.9% of patients who received the integrated approach were found to achieve improved blood-sugar test results, compared with only 35.7% patients who only received the usual primary care. What's more, patients in the integrated care group also were more likely to show signs of remission of depression, compared with their usual care group counterparts (58.7% versus 30.7%, respectively).

The full results of the study are published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

"Though research demonstrates the link between depression and diabetes, few integrated programs are being implemented in practice," said lead author Hillary Bogner, an assistant professor of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Perelman School of Medicine, and a senior scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, both at the University of Pennsylvania. "Our results demonstrate that integrated treatment for both conditions, combined with a brief program focused on adherence for primary care patients with Type 2 diabetes and depression can result in a significant improvement in clinical outcomes. We hope the findings will encourage the adoption of adherence programs aimed at improving outcomes."


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