Direct and Indirect Cost Burden and Change of Employment Status in Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Matched-Cohort Study Using a US Commercial Claims Database

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Feb 20 2018;79(2)


Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) poses a substantial burden to health care payers including employers, costing an estimated $29 billion-$48 billion yearly in the United States. Furthermore, variation of burden across increasing levels of resistance and the potential impact of TRD on employment status remain largely unexplored.


To evaluate health care resource utilization (HRU) and costs, work loss, indirect costs, and employment status change in TRD.


A claims-based algorithm identified adults with TRD from a US claims database of privately insured employees and dependents (January 2010-March 2015). TRD patients were matched 1:1 on demographics to patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) (non-TRD MDD) and without MDD (non-MDD), who were identified using ICD-9-CM codes. Costs, HRU, and employment status change were compared over 2 years following the first antidepressant (randomly imputed date for non-MDD), adjusting for baseline comorbidity index and costs.


TRD patients (N = 6,411) had more HRU than either matched control cohort, translating into higher per patient per year (PPPY) health care costs: $6,709 and $9,917 more than non-TRD MDD and non-MDD patients, respectively (P < .001 for both). TRD patients with work loss data (N = 1,908) had 35.8 work loss days PPPY (1.7 and 6.2 times the work loss rate in non-TRD MDD and non-MDD patients, respectively). Work loss-related costs in TRD patients were $1,811 higher than non-TRD MDD and $3,460 higher than in non-MDD patients (P < .001). TRD patients had 1.3-1.4 times the rate of employment status change versus control cohorts (all P < .05).


TRD, even compared to MDD, poses a significant direct and indirect cost burden to US employers and may be associated with higher rates of employment status change.

View abstract


Amos TB, Tandon N, Lefebvre PPilon D, Kamstra RL, Pivneva I, Greenberg PE