Context: Many youth with depression do not respond to initial treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and this is associated with higher costs. More effective treatment for these youth may be cost-effective. Objective: To evaluate the incremental costeffectiveness over 24 weeks of combined cognitive behavior therapy plus switch to a different antidepressant medication vs medication switch only in adolescents who continued to have depression despite adequate initial treatment with an SSRI. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Six US academic and community clinics. Patients: Three hundred thirty-four patients aged 12 to 18 years with SSRI-resistant depression. Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to (1) switch to a different medication only or (2) switch to a different medication plus cognitive behavior therapy. Main Outcome Measures: Clinical outcomes were depression-free days (DFDs), depression-improvement days (DIDs), and quality-adjusted life-years based on DFDs (DFD-QALYs). Costs of intervention, nonprotocol services, and families were included. Results: Combined treatment achieved 8.3 additional DFDs (P=.03), 0.020 more DFD-QALYs (P=.03), and 11.0 more DIDs (P=.04). Combined therapy cost $1633 more (P=.01). Cost per DFD was $188 (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER]=$188; 95% confidence interval [CI], -$22 to $1613), $142 per DID (ICER=$142; 95% CI, -$14 to $2529), and $78 948 per DFD-QALY (ICER=$78 948; 95% CI, -$9261 to $677 448). Cost-effectiveness acceptability curve analyses suggest a 61% probability that combined treatment is more costeffective at a willingness to pay $100 000 per QALY. Combined treatment had a higher net benefit for subgroups of youth without a history of abuse, with lower levels of hopelessness, and with comorbid conditions. Conclusions: For youth with SSRI-resistant depression, combined treatment decreases the number of days with depression and is more costly. Depending on a decision maker's willingness to pay, combined therapy may be cost-effective, particularly for some subgroups. Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00018902.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health