Doctors Less Likely To Prescribe Antidepressants To Minorities

Black and Hispanic patients with major depressive disorder are less likely to get antidepressants from their doctors than white patients. That’s according to a new study by University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers, who examined patient and doctor data from 1993 to 2007.

The researchers also found that doctors are less likely to prescribe the newest antidepressants to patients on Medicare and Medicaid than to patients with private insurance.

The study found that Caucasians were 1.52 times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than Hispanic and African-American patients being treated for major depressive disorders. However, patient race was not a factor in the physician’s choice of a specific type of antidepressant medication.

“This study confirmed previous findings that sociological factors, such as race and ethnicity, and patient health insurance status, influence physician prescribing behaviors,” said Rajesh Balkrishnan, associate professor in U-M SPH and principal investigator. “This is true in particular for major depressive disorder treatment.”

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