Background: Guidance of patients treated with antidepressants is paramount for successful therapy. The aim was
to assess patients’ needs and suggestions for improvement of guidance by physicians and pharmacists during
second generation antidepressant (SGA) therapy.
Methods: Five focus group discussions were held with a total of 34 patients using an SGA. The discussions were
conducted flexibly and responsively using a semi-structured topic list. All focus group discussions were videorecorded
and transcripts were analyzed using ATLAS.ti for coding, thematic and open analysis.
Results: Participants stated they were in need of better guidance. They suggested improving content of information
during decisional moments, patient-health care professional communication and communication between health care
professionals, and finally, organization of guidance. Barriers to achieving improved guidance were cited.
Conclusions: Content, communication and organization of guidance are pivotal for achieving optimal guidance.
Participants mentioned their current experienced guidance had limitations and brought up solutions for improvement.
A next step would be to discuss the suggested solutions with health care professionals to assess their views and to
discuss the possibility for implementation. After implementation, future studies could be aimed at determination of its
impact on patients’ treatment efficacy, quality of life, treatment satisfaction and healthcare costs.