Effectiveness of antidepressants is generally comparable between and within classes. However, real-world studies on antidepressant treatment and its consequences on the overall quality of life and mental health of individuals are limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of specific class of antidepressants with the health-related quality of life, psychological distress and self-reported mental health of individuals suffering from depression who are on monotherapy.
This retrospective, longitudinal study included individuals with depression who were on antidepressant monotherapy, using data from 2008 to 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Changes in health-related quality of life, self-reported mental health and psychological distress over a year’s time were observed. A multinomial logistic regression model was built to examine the association between the class of antidepressant medications and the dependent variables.
A total of 688 adults met the study inclusion criteria. No significant difference was observed in the change in Physical Component Summary (PCS), self-reported mental health and psychological distress based on the class of antidepressants. However, individuals on serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (OR 0.337, 95 % CI 0.155–0.730) were significantly less likely to show improvement on Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores as compared to those on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
The study findings suggest that practitioners should be aware of the differences in the health-related quality of life of those taking SSRIs versus other classes of antidepressants. Further research needs to be done to determine the reason for SSRIs to show greater improvement on mental health as compared to SNRIs.