Presenting and discussion a variety of therapeutic options for treating depression in primary care benefits both the clinician and the patient, according to a new commentary in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kurt Kroenke, MD, from the VA Center for Health Communication and Information and the Regenstrief Institute at Indiana University, stated that clinicians often discuss only one treatment option for depression with patients, despite the fact that many options exist and may be a more suitable therapy based on the individual’s needs. Decision aids can be used routinely, or targeted towards specific patients based upon their decision-making preference, sociodemographic characteristics, and history of medication intolerance or previous treatment failures.

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In addition, Dr. Kroenke discussed that chronic conditions may require treatment changes over time; cumulative education regarding different therapeutic options can help the patient become more informed cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

“One wonders how often in a busy clinical setting, when there is a choice among medications to treat a disease, the clinician actually discusses the pros and cons of different options. It may be less important for short-term use of drugs to treat acute conditions. However, for medications prescribed for chronic use, informed patient input may be especially desirable,” he concluded.

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