Tell CVS: Protect Treatment Access for Stable Depression Patients

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CVS Plans to Switch the Medications of Stable Depression Patients. Take Action Today to Stop This Change.

On January 1, 2021, stable patients with depression who currently take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may lose access to their current, effective medication. On January 1, CVS Caremark will update its formulary, dropping coverage of four critical SSRI medications, endangering treatment access for patients with depression. Studies have shown that each subsequent switch from one SSRI to another tends to produce less favorable outcomes and increase the risk of treatment-resistant depression. Patients who are forced to switch their medication for non-medical reasons may experience negative side effects, including increased depression symptoms, risks of suicide, nausea, dizziness, sensory disturbances, and even death. If the new medication is ineffective, patients face a higher risk of relapse and suicide. On November 23, 2020, Aimed Alliance and 10 other patient advocacy groups wrote a letter calling on CVS to protect stable patients from these switches. Read our letter here.

Send a Letter Now: Call on CVS to Protect Stable Depression Patients from Dangerous Treatment Switches

We are asking patients and patient advocates to act now to send letters directly to CVS calling on them to protect stable depression patients. You may use the template letter below, which will be sent directly to CVS’s chief medical officers. Thank you for raising your voice on this important issue!

I’m a Patient

You can send the letter below to CVS executives by adding your name and email address and clicking send.

Dear Dr. Brennan and Dr. Chaguturu:

I am an advocate reaching out to you on behalf of the depression community, and I am writing today to request that CVS allow stable patients to remain on their current selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for depression during the 2021 plan year. If forced to switch from their current SSRI, patients could experience serious side effects and negative health outcomes, including nausea, dizziness, sensory disturbances, insomnia, and even seizures. Furthermore, if the new SSRI is less effective for those who are forced to switch treatments, they could relapse, resulting in heightened symptoms of depression and even suicide.

These potential changes are particularly concerning given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to increases in anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms across age groups and difficulties in accessing health care providers, necessary treatment, and support systems. Now is not the time to switch stable patients with depression. I urge you: please allow stable depression patients to remain on their current SSRI medication, which was chosen by their health care provider based on their individual needs.

Thank you,
[name]

 


 

I’m a Patient Advocate

You can send the letter below to CVS executives by adding your name and email address and clicking send.

Re: Formulary Coverage of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Dear Dr. Brennan and Dr. Chaguturu:

I am a patient with depression, and I am writing today to request that CVS allow stable patients to remain on their current selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for depression during the 2021 plan year. If forced to switch from our current SSRI, we could experience serious side effects and negative health outcomes, including nausea, dizziness, sensory disturbances, insomnia, and even seizures. Furthermore, if the new SSRI is less effective for those who are forced to switch treatments, we could relapse, resulting in heightened symptoms of depression and even suicide.

These potential changes are particularly concerning given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to increases in anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms across age groups and difficulties in accessing health care providers, necessary treatment, and support systems. Now is not the time to switch stable patients with depression. I urge you: please allow patients like myself to remain on our current SSRI medication, which was chosen by our health care provider based on our individual needs. Please protect our treatment access.

Thank you,
[name]

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