USPSTF: New Recommendations for Depression Screening in Primary Care

USPSTF: New Recommendations for Depression Screening in Primary Care
USPSTF: New Recommendations for Depression Screening in Primary Care

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a draft recommendation today stating that all adults over the age of 18, including pregnant and postpartum women, should be screened for depression in a primary care setting with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up. The USPSTF will give the public the opportunity to comment on the recommendation until August 24th.

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability in adults and is common in primary care patients. Based on available evidence, The USPSTF recommends that for all adults who receive care in clinical practices that have adequate systems in place, there is at least moderate certainty that the net benefit of screening for depression is moderate. For pregnant and postpartum women, there is at least moderate certainty that the net benefit of screening for depression is moderate based on the evidence of benefits and harms when CBT or other evidence-based counseling is available. The is a grade B recommendation.

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A previous USPSTF recommendation from 2009 called for selective screening based on professional judgment and patient preferences when depression care support was not available. Given that depression care support is now more widely available and accepted, the recommendation regarding selective screening has been removed from the current statement. Also, the current statement includes specific recommendations for screening in pregnant and postpartum women, subpopulations that were not reviewed in the previous recommendation.

“Depression is not only common, it is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States,” says Task Force Vice-Chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS. “The Task Force's recommendation for all adults to be screened by their primary care physician will help to identify depression and connect patients with the treatment and support they need.”

For more information visit USPreventiveServicesTaskForce.org.