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October 15, 2003

Prescription Drug Benefits and Health Status Among Medicare Patients—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(15):1994-1995. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.1994-a

To the Editor: Dr Tseng and colleagues1 found that Medicare patients with lower annual benefits were more likely to exceed these "caps," and that such patients were likely to face increased out-of-pocket costs to continue receiving their medication. The authors also found that 15 of the 20 medications with the highest total prescription expenditures were for chronic conditions. Although it seems reasonable to assume that most of these medications are indeed prescribed for chronic conditions, the antidepressant paroxetine (fifth on the list of Tseng et al) is also indicated for some anxiety disorders, which could be considered chronic conditions.