For patients undergoing chronic dialysis treatment, the use of antidepressant and analgesic therapies may relieve depression symptoms, according to a new study. “Dialysis and depression seem to go together all too well. As dialysis patients, we are but one decision away from death. It’s a reality we deal with everyday whether consciously or not,” writes Devon Osborne in Renal Business Today.
Research leader Steven Weisbord followed a group of 286 patients on dialysis for as many as 24 months between 2009 and 2011. The patients answered monthly questionnaires and 18 percent reported severe depressive symptoms while 79 percent reported experiencing pain. In addition, patients with depression were 21 percent more likely to miss dialysis treatments and were also hospitalized 19 percent more of the time. They also had a 40 percent greater chance of death.
“Patients receiving chronic hemodialysis experience a very high burden of physical and emotional symptoms,” Weisbord said in a press statement. “While not all symptoms are easily treated, there are effective therapies for depressive symptoms and pain. These findings underscore the need to determine whether the effective treatment of these symptoms, in addition to making patients feel better, can also reduce utilization of healthcare resources and costs and improve patient-centered outcomes.”
The study suggests that researchers look into antidepressant and analgesic therapies to improve patient survivability since the number of chronic kidney disease patients has been increasing. According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, from 1988 to 1994, the prevalence was at 18.8 percent, but in 2003-2006, the number of Americans rose up to nearly a quarter.