Chronic Peritoneal Dialysis Patients Diagnosed with Clinical Depression: Results of Pharmacologic Therapy

Diane Wuerth, H. Susan, Finkelstein, Alan S. Kliger, Fredric O. Finkelstein

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47 Scopus citations


Depression has been documented as the most frequently encountered psychological problem in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients and has been correlated with both mortality and morbidity in these patients. Previous work by our group has shown that clinical depression is treatable with psychotropic medications in these patients, but that only a limited number of ESRD patients with depression will successfully complete a course of pharmacologic therapy. From July 1997 to October 2002, all chronic peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients in our facility were encouraged to be screened for depression utilizing the self-administered Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) questionnaire. Based on previous work, a score ≥11 on this questionnaire was used to indicate a possible diagnosis of clinical depression; patients with BDI scores ≥11 were encouraged to complete a more formal evaluation for the presence of clinical depression. A total of 320 BDI questionnaires were completed during the study period: 134 patients. (42%) scored ≥11 on the BDI, 69 of the 134 patients (51%) with BDI scores ≥11 agreed to further evaluation. Sixty of these 69 patients (87%) were diagnosed with clinical depression based on scores ≥18 on the Hamilton Depression Scale and standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria. Forty-four patients with clinical depression agreed to pharmacologic treatment. However, only 23 of the 44 patients (52%) successfully completed a 12-week course of drug therapy. Two unit social work reviewers systematically reviewed the records of these 21 patients who did not complete therapy and assessed the reasons for their inability to complete treatment. Reasons identified included eight patients who experienced acute medical problems, three who were active substance abusers, and two who reported medication side effects. The remaining eight patients who did not complete the 12 weeks of therapy were examined by applying the axis 1 and axis 2 DSM-IV criteria. Axis 1 is used to diagnose clinical disorders and axis 2 is used to diagnose personality disorders. While all these patients met the DSM-IV axis 1 criteria for clinical depression, eight of these patients met axis 2 criteria for personality disorders; five patients had borderline personality disorders, one had a narcissistic personality disorder, one had a factitious disorder, and one had features of avoidant personality disorder. While some chronic PD patients can be successfully treated for clinical depression with psychotropic medication prescribed by the dialysis medical team, not all patients will agree to be evaluated for clinical depression and accept pharmacologic treatment. Others cannot or will not complete treatment when additional psychiatric disorders exist. These patients may require additional intervention when diagnosed with clinical depression and a personality disorder. Further trials are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-427
Number of pages4
JournalSeminars in Dialysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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