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Incidence of Depression and First-Line Antidepressant Therapy in People with Obesity and Depression in Primary Care.

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journal contribution
posted on 17.04.2020, 11:26 by Freya Tyrer, Francesco Zaccardi, Kamlesh Khunti, Richard Morriss
OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to describe the age- and gender-specific incidence of depression, the dose-response relationship between BMI and risk of depression (Cox proportional hazards), and antidepressant drug prescribing in adults with overweight or obesity. METHODS:A retrospective electronic health record study using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink was conducted to identify adults with overweight and obesity (≥ 18 years) with incident depression (no prior depression diagnosis in their records), followed up from 2000 to 2019. RESULTS:Among 519,513 adults, incidence of depression was 9.2 per 1,000 person-years and was higher in women and in 40- to 59-year-old men who had severe obesity. Compared with having overweight, the hazard of depression increased with each BMI category as follows: 1.13 (30-34 kg/m2 ; 95% CI: 1.10-1.16), 1.34 (35-39 kg/m2 ; 1.29-1.40), 1.51 (40-44 kg/m2 ; 1.41-1.61), and 1.67 (45-49 kg/m2 ; 1.48-1.87), attenuating at BMI 50+ kg/m2 (1.54; 2.91-1.84). Antidepressants were prescribed as first-line therapy in two-thirds (66.3%) of cases. Prescriptions for fluoxetine reduced over time (20.4% [2000]; 8.8% [2018]), and prescriptions for sertraline increased (4.3% [2000]; 38.9% [2018]). CONCLUSIONS:We recommend guidance on antidepressant drug prescribing and specific services for people with obesity and depression that address both symptoms and behaviors.


This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East Midlands. RWE Unit is funded by University of Leicester, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands, and Leicester NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. RM is funded also by the Nottingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR MindTech MedTech and in‐Vitro Centre. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the LRWE Unit, the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health.



Tyrer, F., Zaccardi, F., Khunti, K. and Morriss, R. (2020), Incidence of Depression and First‐Line Antidepressant Therapy in People with Obesity and Depression in Primary Care. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.22772


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Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)







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