Approximately 18.8 million Americans are affected by depressive disorders. By the year 2020 depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. In the older adult population depression is associated with suicide. Depression goes unrecognized and untreated. Up to 75 percent of older adults who die from suicide have visited a physician within one month before their death. Regrettably, healthcare professionals often mistake depression as a normal reaction to other illnesses or social hardships. Recognition and treatment of depression is vital in improving recovery and reducing its affect on other medical conditions. A collaborative approach to treating depression for healthcare professionals should include: understanding the illness, how it impacts the older adult and the cultural and social factors surrounding this illness. Additionally, healthcare professionals should be familiar with depression screening tools and treatment options. Utilizing this approach will place the older adult on the road to recovery and improve their ability to function normally.
This series of learning modules will cover topics such as: depression prevalence and risk factors; pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment approaches; caregiving and depression; cultural issues; and insurance access.
Emily R. Hajjar, Pharm.D., BCPS, CGP
Cynthia A. Sanoski, Pharm.D., BCPS, FCCP
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS
Reena Antony, MPH, Christine Arenson, MD, Charles Brown, MSW, LCSW,
Nancy L. Chernett, MPH, Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, Leigh Ann Hewston, PT, MEd,
Christine Hsieh, MD, Barry W. Rovner, MD, Tracey Vause-Earland, MS, OTR/L,
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS
The Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center (EPaD GEC) is funded by the Department of Human and Health Services Grant #D31HP08834
Pharmacologic management of depression in the older adult can be very complex especially when related to treatment by medication. There are many factors to consider in effectively treating and managing depression some of these include: identifying medications associated with depression, discussing pharmacologic treatment options with the patient, differentiating between the adverse effects of antidepressant drugs, etc.
This module discusses the pharmacologic treatment of depression in the older adult.
Upon completion of this module, the participant will be able to:
Estimated time for completion: 30 minutes
- Identify medications that may be associated with causing depression in the elderly.
- Discuss factors that should be considered when selecting antidepressant therapy for elderly patients.
- Discuss pharmacologic treatment options for depression in the elderly.
- Differentiate between the adverse effect profiles of the various antidepressant drugs.
- Describe the process that should be followed when discontinuing antidepressant therapy in the elderly.
Since this module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, it is designed to track your progress allowing you to complete the module in more than one sitting. This progress tracking feature requires that you use the same computer each time you return to work on the module.
Technical Requirements and Notes:
This learning module uses Adobe Flash media and may require you to add a browser "plug-in" in order to display properly. Most computers already have this free plug-in installed. But, if yours does not, it is very easy to download and install. Try the module first because the software is "smart" enough to detect the Flash player. If the module doesn't begin, you will be automatically prompted to download the plug-in.
The module contains links to external websites which will open in a new browser window. Your browser's back button will not return to the module, so these new windows should be closed.