USPSTF to Update Its Recommendation on Screening for Depression in Adults; Posts Draft Research Plan for Comment

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On March 27, the United States Prevention Services Task Force (USPSTF) released for public comment a draft research plan, "Primary Care Screening for Depression in Adults," taking the first step in the process to update its recommendation released in 2009.
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Currently, the USPSTF recommends screening adults for depression when staff-assisted depression care supports are in place to assure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up (Grade B recommendation). However, the USPSTF recommends against routinely screening adults for depression when staff-assisted depression care supports are not in place (Grade C recommendation).

In updating its recommendation, the USPSTF has gradually expanded the scope of review and population under consideration. While their 2009 review focused on older adults, the current draft research plan focuses on benefits and harms associated with depression screening in pregnant and postpartum women. It is unlikely the USPSTF will conduct a thorough examination of evidence for those key questions that had strong, consistent evidence in the last review. In 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a firm recommendation for universal antepartum or postpartum depression screening. The USPSTF research would be a major update after the ACOG statement.

Comments on the USPSTF draft research plan are due April 23.

View the full USPSTF draft research plan.

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