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Oncology professionals' views on the use of antidepressants in cancer patients: a qualitative interview study

Oncology professionals' views on the use of antidepressants in cancer patients: a qualitative interview study
Oncology professionals' views on the use of antidepressants in cancer patients: a qualitative interview study
Objectives: Emotional distress, including depression, is an important issue for cancer patients and their families. Guidelines recommend the use of antidepressant drugs (ADs) for the management of depression in cancer. This study explores the views of oncology professionals about the inclusion of ADs in treatment plans.

Design: Semi-structured interview study. Data were analysed using framework analysis.

Setting: A specialist cancer centre and six district general hospitals across the Yorkshire Cancer Network.

Participants: 18 randomly selected professionals from lung, breast, urology and colorectal cancer teams: oncologists (n=8), surgeons (n=3), clinical nurse specialists (n=2) and ward nurses (n=5).

Results: Three main themes emerged relating to professionals' attitudes, knowledge and behaviour. Positive attitudes were primarily expressed by nurses. However, negative views were expressed about the potential for over-reliance on ADs, and their use constituting ‘giving in’. Doctors reported a lack of confidence in the use of and knowledge about ADs with an associated reluctance to prescribe. The general practitioner (GP) was regarded as the most appropriate professional to prescribe ADs.

Conclusions: Cancer professionals highlighted a need for training in the appropriate use of ADs. Further, this research suggests that negative attitudes towards antidepressants may be a factor in their exclusion from treatment plans. The GP is seen to have a key prescribing role for AD therapy; however, it is unclear whether the GPs is asked to do this. This research raises questions about the adequacy of ADs in cancer care and to what extent the GP is able to meet this need.
2045-435X
301-305
Holch, Patricia
2cbabc81-1d77-43ea-959f-70a3b766d5d4
Absolom, Kate L.
b80bc2e0-28b3-4d3e-a77c-86e037120595
Pini, Simon
a308d42f-ef9f-4792-8f5e-5305c08693e2
Hill, Kate M.
a93a8de5-8a1b-4ea7-8351-7d08708211da
Liu, Alan
c21b3f10-9729-4e4e-a626-05c54a4190c8
Sharpe, Michael
7c77f2a0-2b8a-42b2-beda-afa88edf4ab3
Richardson, Alison
3db30680-aa47-43a5-b54d-62d10ece17b7
Hosker, Christian
1995b922-b33d-4e33-b7c2-55393341acef
Velikova, Galina
60a74ab1-7fba-4d7a-8b40-598ed8398393
Holch, Patricia
2cbabc81-1d77-43ea-959f-70a3b766d5d4
Absolom, Kate L.
b80bc2e0-28b3-4d3e-a77c-86e037120595
Pini, Simon
a308d42f-ef9f-4792-8f5e-5305c08693e2
Hill, Kate M.
a93a8de5-8a1b-4ea7-8351-7d08708211da
Liu, Alan
c21b3f10-9729-4e4e-a626-05c54a4190c8
Sharpe, Michael
7c77f2a0-2b8a-42b2-beda-afa88edf4ab3
Richardson, Alison
3db30680-aa47-43a5-b54d-62d10ece17b7
Hosker, Christian
1995b922-b33d-4e33-b7c2-55393341acef
Velikova, Galina
60a74ab1-7fba-4d7a-8b40-598ed8398393

Holch, Patricia, Absolom, Kate L., Pini, Simon, Hill, Kate M., Liu, Alan, Sharpe, Michael, Richardson, Alison, Hosker, Christian and Velikova, Galina (2011) Oncology professionals' views on the use of antidepressants in cancer patients: a qualitative interview study BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, 1, (3), pp. 301-305.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objectives: Emotional distress, including depression, is an important issue for cancer patients and their families. Guidelines recommend the use of antidepressant drugs (ADs) for the management of depression in cancer. This study explores the views of oncology professionals about the inclusion of ADs in treatment plans.

Design: Semi-structured interview study. Data were analysed using framework analysis.

Setting: A specialist cancer centre and six district general hospitals across the Yorkshire Cancer Network.

Participants: 18 randomly selected professionals from lung, breast, urology and colorectal cancer teams: oncologists (n=8), surgeons (n=3), clinical nurse specialists (n=2) and ward nurses (n=5).

Results: Three main themes emerged relating to professionals' attitudes, knowledge and behaviour. Positive attitudes were primarily expressed by nurses. However, negative views were expressed about the potential for over-reliance on ADs, and their use constituting ‘giving in’. Doctors reported a lack of confidence in the use of and knowledge about ADs with an associated reluctance to prescribe. The general practitioner (GP) was regarded as the most appropriate professional to prescribe ADs.

Conclusions: Cancer professionals highlighted a need for training in the appropriate use of ADs. Further, this research suggests that negative attitudes towards antidepressants may be a factor in their exclusion from treatment plans. The GP is seen to have a key prescribing role for AD therapy; however, it is unclear whether the GPs is asked to do this. This research raises questions about the adequacy of ADs in cancer care and to what extent the GP is able to meet this need.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 25 August 2011
Published date: December 2011
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 301168
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/301168
ISSN: 2045-435X
PURE UUID: 91fee317-66a2-45bf-a586-27b0424c5eb0
ORCID for Alison Richardson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3127-5755

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Feb 2012 17:08
Last modified: 05 Oct 2017 06:05

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Contributors

Author: Patricia Holch
Author: Kate L. Absolom
Author: Simon Pini
Author: Kate M. Hill
Author: Alan Liu
Author: Michael Sharpe
Author: Christian Hosker
Author: Galina Velikova

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