US Pharm. 2010;35(5):Epub.

Providence, RI—According to a recent study from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, patients report side effects from depression medications 20 times more than is recorded in their charts. Researcher Mark Zimmerman, MD, and colleagues at Rhode Island Hospital had 300 patients being treated for depression complete a self-administered questionnaire. Side-effect information recorded by the treating psychiatrist was then extracted from each patient's chart. Side effects were one of the most frequent reasons patients gave for discontinuing depression medication. Premature medication discontinuation has been associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Zimmerman noted, “Despite the importance that side effects have on premature medication discontinuation...clinicians may not do a thorough job of eliciting information regarding their presence [and] do not record…most side effects reported on a side effects questionnaire.” Zimmerman recommended using a self-administered patient questionnaire in clinical practice to improve recognition of side effects in patients undergoing treatment.

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