Objective: Although a high incidence of major depressive disorder (MDD) and an increased risk of suicide are observed among the veteran population, there are yet limited real-world data characterizing patients with MDD with acute suicidal ideation/behavior (MDSI) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system. We assessed the clinical and economic burden, including comorbidities, treatment patterns, health care resource utilization, and health care costs, among veterans and their family members with MDSI within the VHA system.
Methods: This retrospective, longitudinal analysis of VHA datasets (10/1/2015–3/31/2018) evaluated the clinical and economic burden associated with MDSI and compared this population with matched MDD alone (ie, MDD diagnosis without acute suicidal ideation/behavior) and non-MDD (i.e., neither MDD nor acute suicidal ideation/behavior) cohorts.
Results: Among 11,203 patients with MDSI, the proportions of patients who filled a prescription for ≥1 antidepressant during the 12-month pre- and 6-month post-periods were significantly higher compared with patients with MDD alone (53.7% vs 28.8%; P <0.05, and 72.3% vs 44.1%; P <0.05, respectively). During the 12-month pre-period, the MDSI cohort had the highest proportion of patients with ≥1 mental health–related inpatient visit compared with the MDD alone and non-MDD cohorts (13.2% vs 2.3% vs 1.4%, respectively; P <0.05), and the highest mental health–related costs per patient ($8,853 vs $1913 vs $1079, respectively). For the 6-month post-period, the MDSI cohort had the highest proportion of patients with ≥1 mental health–related inpatient visit compared with the MDD alone and non-MDD cohorts (60.4% vs 7.9% vs 0.8%, respectively; P <0.05), and had the highest mental health–related costs per patient ($20,334 vs $4803 vs $545, respectively).
Conclusions: Findings demonstrate significant clinical and economic burden for those in the VHA system diagnosed with MDSI and highlight unmet needs and opportunities for improving the care of this vulnerable group.
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