According to a new study that was presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), having a total hip replacement (THP) may reduce a patient’s chances of suffering from depression, as well as lowering rates of early mortality, heart failure and diabetes.
“The study has demonstrated that THR confers a potential long-term benefit in terms of prolonged lifespan and reduced burden of disease in Medicare patients with osteoarthritis of the hip,” said lead study author Scott Lovald, PhD, a researcher at Exponent Inc.
For the study, researchers analyzed data collected from 43,000 patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Using Medicare codes, the researchers were able to learn that of the two groups of patients (those receiving THR and those not receiving THR), the patients who received the THR showed a lower rate of depression three years after the THR surgery. It turns out that having THR may also prove to be cheaper long-term depression treatment than taking antidepressants like Paxil or Effexor. THR only costs $6366 over a 7-year period, which is cheaper than treating patients who are suffering from both osteoarthritis and depression long-term (since THR can reduce depression altogether).
“Joint (replacement) has been proposed as possibly cost-saving in the management of disability related to arthritis,” said Lovald. “This study provides supporting data to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of THR.”
As for depression itself, the condition is usually treated with antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor. Both Paxil and Effexor are also known to cause serious side effects, which can include violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as birth defects in babies whose mothers take the drug while pregnant. Some of those defects include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and oral clefts. If the patient is also suffering from osteoarthritis, the last thing they need is to worry about drug side effects linked to antidepressants. If the THR can help reduce their chances of suffering from depression, then this study may prove to be groundbreaking.