A new revision of clinical guidelines to help doctors manage patients with depression has challenged the rationale behind the UK government’s policy of rolling out of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for milder depression.
According to a comprehensive review of treatments for depression, there is a lack of evidence for CBT being more helpful than other forms of psychological support in mild depression or for its efficacy in severe depression. There is also good evidence for antidepressants being effective in depression, with benefit increasing the more severe the depression. This is contrary to recent reports that antidepressants don’t work except in the most severe depression.
Dr Ian Anderson, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Neuroscience and Psychiatry Unit, University of Manchester, UK, says the cost effectiveness of CBT should be thoroughly investigated before it is adopted more widely because it is likely to be offered to people with milder depression where the evidence is poorest.
“There is often not a level playing field in considering evidence for drugs versus psychological treatment, especially in milder depression,” Dr Anderson explains, adding that specific psychological treatments are relatively expensive compared to drug treatments because treatment involves training of the therapists as well as the costs of administering the intervention.
To measure the effectiveness of these treatments requires “comparison against appropriate control treatment like non-specific supportive treatment in the same way drugs are compared against placebo,” says Dr Anderson. “This is important given the rolling out of CBT for milder depression – probably less expensive means of support are more cost-effective.”
This conclusion is just one of the issues to emerge from a comprehensive review of the evidence for various forms of management of depression, conducted as part of a revision of the 2000 British Association for Psychopharmacology evidence-based guidelines, and published this week by SAGE in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The aim of the review was to incorporate new evidence and to update the recommendations where appropriate.
Revisions to the guidelines were agreed after a consensus meeting involving experts in depressive disorders and their management, user representatives, and medical and scientific staff from pharmaceutical companies in May 2006 and a subsequent literature review.
The new guidelines also question whether CBT should routinely be combined with antidepressant medication for depression in adolescents—as the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence suggests—citing a lack of evidence. Dr Anderson says some recommendations run contrary to NICE guidance:•First, the choice between antidepressants and CBT needs to be individually decided rather than routinely recommending CBT first.
•Second, combining CBT with antidepressants should not be routine.
He suggests that doctors should try to adopt a more dimensional approach to depression rather than over-emphasising categories of disease severity such as “not depressed”, “clinical depression”, etc, or relying too heavily on cut-off points such as simply counting symptoms. It is important to consider an individual patient’s situation in a more rounded fashion such as past history, degree of impairment, duration of symptoms and risk of relapse.
“Overall, the guidelines clear up some issues and alter the emphasis on certain treatments for example suggesting that for subthreshold depression, which is not of clinical severity, antidepressants should be considered if it lasts more than 2-3 months,” Dr Anderson says. “We have also challenged the idea that antidepressants need to be given more than once a day or that for most antidepressants you need to follow a long tailing off before starting a new antidepressant.”
“We hope [the guidelines] will set a standard. We have tried to be practical in our advice and addressed issues that other guidelines tend not to be specific about such as managing side-effects of antidepressants. We want to help doctors and patients choose treatments and strategies that have the best chance of helping,” Dr Anderson concludes.
Mithu Mukherjee | alfa
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.
New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
22.06.2017 | Life Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences