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Productivity Losses Among Treated Depressed Patients Relative to Healthy Controls

Curkendall, Suellen PhD; Ruiz, Kimberly M. EdM; Joish, Vijay PhD; Mark, Tami L. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 2 - p 125-130
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181ce10a8
Original Articles

Objectives: Estimate the productivity-related cost of depression in an employed population.

Methods: By using administrative data, annual short-term disability (STD) and absenteeism costs ($2005) were compared for patients with depression and treated with antidepressants and for a matched control group without depression.

Results: Mean annual STD costs were $1038 among treated depressed patients versus $325 among controls and $1685 among a subgroup of severely depressed treated patients versus $340 among their controls. After controlling for demographic and employment characteristics, treated patients with depression had STD costs that were $356 higher per patient and those with severe depression had costs that were $861 higher. The marginal impact of treated depression on absenteeism was $377.

Conclusions: Even when depressed patients are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses. Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for savings to employers.

From Thomson Reuters (Dr Curkendall, Ms Ruiz, Dr Mark); and Sanofi-Aventis (Dr Joish), Washington, DC

At the time this work was conducted, Dr. Joish was with Sanofi-Aventis. He is currently with Bayer.

Authors Suellen Curkendall, Kimberly M. Ruiz, Vijay Joish, and Tami L. Mark received funding from Sanofi Aventis for this research.

The JOEM Editorial Board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Suellen Curkendall, PhD, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 330, Washington, DC 20008; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine