Researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy and University of New York at Buffalo performed a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials that examined the effectiveness of the administration of psychotherapy after successful response to acute-phase pharmacotherapy in the treatment of adults with MDD.
The researchers included 13 trials (including 1,410 participants aged 18 and older)—all of which involved cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—in their analysis. They found that patients who were randomly assigned to receive CBT while antidepressants were discontinued were significantly less likely to experience relapse/recurrence compared with those assigned to either clinical management during tapering of antidepressants or continuation of antidepressant medication.
“The average depressed patient appears to express stronger preferences for psychotherapy than for antidepressant medications, a finding that is of considerable clinical importance given that treatment preference is a potent moderator of response to therapy,” the study authors wrote. “The sequential modality of integration of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy appears to be a valuable therapeutic strategy for preventing relapse.”
For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “Study to Answer What Comes Next When MDD Patients Don’t Respond.”