The economic implications of the racial and ethnic disparities in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Junling Wang, Shelley White-Means, Meghan A. Hufstader, Genene D. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Previous studies have examined racial and ethnic disparities in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). This study aims to examine the economic implications of these disparities. Research design and methods: In this retrospective observational study, the study sample was adult survey respondents with a diagnosis of depression from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2002-2003). SSRI use was measured as the number of times when SSRIs were obtained. The racial and ethnic disparities in SSRI use were examined employing a negative binomial model. The economic implications of disparities were explored using a linear regression with SSRI use as an independent variable. Interaction terms between the variable for SSRI use and dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups were included to explore whether the relationships between SSRI use and health expenditures differ across racial and ethnic groups. Results: The mean number of times of SSRI use was higher for non-Hispanic whites than non-Hispanic blacks (3.02 vs. 1.79; p < 0.05) and Hispanic whites (3.02 vs. 1.68; p < 0.05). These differences were still significant after adjusting for covariates (p < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, each time of SSRI use was associated with health expenditures of $301 higher. Neither dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups nor the interaction terms between these dummy variables and the variable for SSRI use were significant. Conclusions: The lower use of SSRIs among minorities compared to non-Hispanic whites is associated with lower health expenditures among minorities. SSRI may be a proxy for improved access to health care due to under-treatment of depression in general. The main limitation of this study is that its observational nature does not allow the researchers to determine whether the association between SSRI use and the increase in health expenditures is a causal effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-863
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

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Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Economics
Health Expenditures
Ethnic Groups
Health Services Accessibility
Proxy
Statistical Models
Hispanic Americans
Observational Studies
Linear Models
Research Design
Multivariate Analysis
Retrospective Studies
Research Personnel

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

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The economic implications of the racial and ethnic disparities in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. / Wang, Junling; White-Means, Shelley; Hufstader, Meghan A.; Walker, Genene D.

In: Current Medical Research and Opinion, Vol. 23, No. 4, 01.04.2007, p. 853-863.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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abstract = "Objectives: Previous studies have examined racial and ethnic disparities in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). This study aims to examine the economic implications of these disparities. Research design and methods: In this retrospective observational study, the study sample was adult survey respondents with a diagnosis of depression from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2002-2003). SSRI use was measured as the number of times when SSRIs were obtained. The racial and ethnic disparities in SSRI use were examined employing a negative binomial model. The economic implications of disparities were explored using a linear regression with SSRI use as an independent variable. Interaction terms between the variable for SSRI use and dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups were included to explore whether the relationships between SSRI use and health expenditures differ across racial and ethnic groups. Results: The mean number of times of SSRI use was higher for non-Hispanic whites than non-Hispanic blacks (3.02 vs. 1.79; p < 0.05) and Hispanic whites (3.02 vs. 1.68; p < 0.05). These differences were still significant after adjusting for covariates (p < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, each time of SSRI use was associated with health expenditures of $301 higher. Neither dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups nor the interaction terms between these dummy variables and the variable for SSRI use were significant. Conclusions: The lower use of SSRIs among minorities compared to non-Hispanic whites is associated with lower health expenditures among minorities. SSRI may be a proxy for improved access to health care due to under-treatment of depression in general. The main limitation of this study is that its observational nature does not allow the researchers to determine whether the association between SSRI use and the increase in health expenditures is a causal effect.",
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AB - Objectives: Previous studies have examined racial and ethnic disparities in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). This study aims to examine the economic implications of these disparities. Research design and methods: In this retrospective observational study, the study sample was adult survey respondents with a diagnosis of depression from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2002-2003). SSRI use was measured as the number of times when SSRIs were obtained. The racial and ethnic disparities in SSRI use were examined employing a negative binomial model. The economic implications of disparities were explored using a linear regression with SSRI use as an independent variable. Interaction terms between the variable for SSRI use and dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups were included to explore whether the relationships between SSRI use and health expenditures differ across racial and ethnic groups. Results: The mean number of times of SSRI use was higher for non-Hispanic whites than non-Hispanic blacks (3.02 vs. 1.79; p < 0.05) and Hispanic whites (3.02 vs. 1.68; p < 0.05). These differences were still significant after adjusting for covariates (p < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, each time of SSRI use was associated with health expenditures of $301 higher. Neither dummy variables for racial and ethnic groups nor the interaction terms between these dummy variables and the variable for SSRI use were significant. Conclusions: The lower use of SSRIs among minorities compared to non-Hispanic whites is associated with lower health expenditures among minorities. SSRI may be a proxy for improved access to health care due to under-treatment of depression in general. The main limitation of this study is that its observational nature does not allow the researchers to determine whether the association between SSRI use and the increase in health expenditures is a causal effect.

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