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Review article| Volume 92, P9-14, October 2016

The impact of depression in older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma

      Highlights

      • The point prevalence of depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is estimated to range from 8% to 81% and in patients with asthma from 13% to 32%.
      • Depression in these contexts is often under-recognized and inadequately treated.
      • The causes of depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma are multifactorial and include physical, physiological and behavioural factors.
      • There is some evidence to suggest that pulmonary rehabilitation and cognitive behavioural therapy are beneficial in reducing depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
      • The efficacy of antidepressant therapy for treatment of depression in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma is inconclusive.

      Abstract

      Respiratory diseases are common in older people. However, the impact of comorbid depression in older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma has not been fully explored. This narrative review examines the impact of comorbid depression and its management in COPD and asthma in older adults. The causes of depression in patients with COPD and asthma are multifactorial and include physical, physiological and behavioural factors. Depression is associated with hospital readmission in older adults with asthma and COPD. We focus on the most current literature that has examined the efficacy of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and antidepressant drug therapy for patients with depression in the context of COPD and asthma. Our findings indicate that PR and CBT are beneficial in improving depressive symptoms and quality of life in short-term intervention studies. However, the long-term efficacy of CBT and PR is unknown. To date, the efficacy of antidepressant drug therapy for depression in patients with COPD and asthma is inconclusive. In addition, there has been no clear evidence that antidepressants can induce remission of depression or ameliorate dyspnoea or physiological indices of COPD. Factors that contribute to ‘inadequate’ assessment and treatment of depression in patients with COPD and asthma may include misconception of the disease by patients and their caregivers and stigma attached to depression. Thus, well-controlled randomized controlled trials are needed.

      Keywords

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