When asthma patients are depressed, the effectiveness of their medical care greatly diminishes. The same holds true for chronic obstructive pumonary disease (COPD) patients, a new study shows.

Investigators in Singapore enrolled 367 consecutive patients with COPD who were hospitalized for acute exacerbations. The prevalence of depression at admission was 44%. During the yearlong follow-up, the depressed COPD patients were nearly twice as likely to die, were 2.3 times as likely to smoke, and had longer hospital stays. They also had worse symptoms and poorer physical functioning than non-depressed patients.

The researchers said their findings “support the role of antidepressant or psychological interventions in depressed patients with COPD to improve outcomes.” They added that “psychosocial interventions in the context of a pulmonary rehabilitation program have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and to improve quality of life” (Arch Intern Med. 2007;165:60-67).

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