Objective: To determine the adequacy of pharmacotherapy received by patients with newly-diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), based on current practice guidelines.
Methods: A 9 year (1997–2006) retrospective claims analysis of adults enrolled in Florida Medicaid for at least 3 continuous years was conducted to determine the percentage who received both a minimally effective duration (≥ 8 continuous weeks) and dose of first-line OCD pharmacotherapy during the year following their first (“index”) OCD diagnosis.
Results: Among 2,960,421 adult (≥ 18 years of age) enrollees, 2,921 (0.1%) were diagnosed with OCD. Among the 2,825 OCD patients without comorbid Asperger syndrome or autism, 843 had newly-diagnosed OCD and at least 12 months of follow-up data after their index diagnosis. Among these 843 patients, 588 (69.7%) received first-line OCD pharmacotherapy but only 323 (38.3%) received a minimally effective pharmacotherapy trial in the year following their index diagnosis.
Conclusions: Among clinically-diagnosed persons with OCD (<10% of those with the disorder), a minority of newly-diagnosed patients receive a minimally effective pharmacotherapy trial consistent with current standards of care. Reasons such as limited patient adherence and/or physician awareness of guidelines must be identified and redressed to ameliorate the patient, healthcare system, and economic burdens associated with OCD.