Combo treatment is best for depressed teens

November 19, 2007

Psychotherapy and antidepressants seem to be the most beneficial ways to treat adolescents with major depressive disorder, more than medication or psychotherapy alone.

Psychotherapy and antidepressants seem to be the most beneficial ways to treat adolescents with major depressive disorder, more than medication or psychotherapy alone.

These are the results of the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADs), a randomized, controlled trial of 327 patients between the ages of 12 to 17 years with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of major depressive disorder.

Researchers studied the recovery rates of teens who were treated with fluoxetine or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, or in combination, over the course of 36 weeks. Results consistently demonstrated at 12, 18, and 36 weeks, that patients treated with combination therapy recovered faster than patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone. They also found that while fluoxetine may help to speed recovery, adding CBT provides a safeguard for patients who might be vulnerable to suicide, especially in the early stages of fluoxetine treatment (Arch Gen Psych 2007:64;1132).