Meds & Therapy Are Best for Depression

Antidepressants combined with psychotherapy had the best results against depression

August 18, 2012 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) The best way to treat depression may be a two-pronged approach.  Sessions with a therapist plus antidepressants have shown the best results.

The study authors said, “These data suggest that type of treatment offered is less important than getting depressed patients involved in an active therapeutic program.”

The research results showed that a combination of psychotherapy with antidepressants worked best.

"Talk to your therapist if you’re having symptoms of depression."

Arif Khan, MD, Medical Director at the Northwest Clinical Research Center in Bellevue, Washington, led an investigation to compare treatments for depression. A recent study evaluated 10,310 depressed patients to determine what the most successful treatment methods were.

Approved treatment therapies for depression include: antidepressants, psychotherapy and alternative therapies. Alternative therapies could mean exercise, dietary changes, relaxation techniques and acupuncture among other things.

Researchers looked at 62 trials on using antidepressants for 13,802 patients, and 115 trials on using psychotherapies and alternative therapies on depressed patients. Overall, researchers selected 10,310 depressed patients to use for their evaluation of these treatment methods.

When comparing psychotherapies, alternative therapies and placebo trials, researchers found that the results were not all that different.

Results showed that the combination of antidepressants with psychotherapies provided the best results in reducing depression.

The reduction of depressive symptoms was 66 percent with a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy. 

There was a reduction of 54 percent with antidepressants alone, 53 percent with psychotherapy alone and 50 percent with alternative therapies alone.

Dr. Khan said, “For a significant number of patients with clinical depression, treatment with a qualified physician or a therapist should result in improvement in four to six weeks. If not, they should seek further evaluation and consultation.”

This study was published in the July in PLOS ONE. No funding was provided for this study and no conflicts of interest were found.

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Review Date: 
August 15, 2012
Last Updated:
November 6, 2014