(HealthDay News) – Use of a tailored interactive multimedia computer program (IMCP) in primary care improves antidepressant drug recommendations, mental health referral, or both, but does not affect mental health at 12 weeks, according to a study published in the Nov. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Richard L. Kravitz, MD, MSPH, from the University of California at Davis in Sacramento, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing a depression engagement video (DEV), tailored IMCP, and a control sleep hygiene video among 867 adult patients (559 depressed; 308 nondepressed) treated by primary care clinicians. The primary outcome was superiority assessment of the composite measure of patient-reported antidepressant drug recommendation, mental health referral, or both among depressed patients.

The researchers found that the rates of achieving the primary outcome were 17.5% for DEV, 26% for IMCP, and 16.3% for control among depressed patients (DEV vs. control, P=0.79; IMCP vs. control, P=0.02). At the 12-week follow-up, there were no effects on the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 measured depression score. Among nondepressed patients, the DEV and IMCP groups were non-inferior to control for clinical-reported antidepressant prescribing; patient-reported antidepressant recommendation did not achieve non-inferiority.

“A tailored IMCP increased clinician recommendations for antidepressant drugs, a mental health referral, or both among depressed patients but had no effect on mental health at the 12-week follow-up,” the authors write.

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