Medication and Health Care Service Utilization Related to Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults with Psoriasis

November 2004 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | Original Article | 661 | Copyright © November 2004

Amit S Kulkarini MS, Rajesh Balkrishnan PhD, fabian T Camacho MS, Roger T Anderson PhD, Steven R Feldman MD PhD

Objective: This study examined the relationship between depressive symptoms and related medication adherence and health care costs in older adults (age ? 65 years) with psoriasis.

Design: Prospective longitudinal cohort study over a 2-year post enrollment period in a population of older adults with psoriasis enrolled in managed care.

Setting: A Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) in southeastern United States with prescription benefits.

Participants: Sixty-three older adults with psoriasis using topical corticosteroids therapy and enrolled in a Medicare HMO for a 2- year continuous period.

Measurement: Upon enrollment, each enrollee was mailed a comprehensive health status assessment battery, which included the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Information on medication adherence (using medication possession ratio) and total health care utilization/costs following enrollment were retrieved from the Medicare HMO database.

Results: Nearly one-fifth of the patient population had depressive symptoms. Patients with psoriasis who had depressive symptoms at the time of enrollment were less likely to be adherent to topical corticosteroid medication (r= -0.29, p<0.01) and less likely to utilize health care resources as evidenced by lower health care costs (r= -0.27, p<0.05), after confounder adjustment.

Conclusions: The prevalence of depressive symptoms in older adults with psoriasis is commonplace, with strong, yet unexplained correlations between presence of depressive symptoms and lower rates of medication and health care service use among these patients.