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Antidepressant medication and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are both recommended interventions in depression treatment guidelines based on literature reviews and meta-analyses. However, ‘conventional’ meta-analyses comparing their efficacy are limited by their reliance on reported study-level information and a narrow focus on depression outcome measures assessed at treatment completion. Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis, considered the gold standard in evidence synthesis, can improve the quality of the analyses when compared with conventional meta-analysis.
We describe the protocol for a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of antidepressants and IPT for adult acute-phase depression across a range of outcome measures, including depressive symptom severity as well as functioning and well-being, at both post-treatment and follow-up (PROSPERO: CRD42020219891).
We will conduct a systematic literature search in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and the Cochrane Library to identify randomised clinical trials comparing antidepressants and IPT in the acute-phase treatment of adults with depression. We will invite the authors of these studies to share the participant-level data of their trials. One-stage IPD meta-analyses will be conducted using mixed-effects models to assess treatment effects at post-treatment and follow-up for all outcome measures that are assessed in at least two studies.
This will be the first IPD meta-analysis examining antidepressants versus IPT efficacy. This study has the potential to enhance our knowledge of depression treatment by comparing the short- and long-term effects of two widely used interventions across a range of outcome measures using state-of-the-art statistical techniques.
Time-limited psychotherapy for depression is effective. However, comorbid personality disorders affect therapy outcomes negatively. Studies of follow-up effects and results relating to the influence of comorbid personality disorder and treatment modality are scarce.
To determine the influence of comorbid personality disorder and treatment modality on outcomes after cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) or short-term psychodynamic supportive psychotherapy (SPSP) for depression.
This study draws on data from a previously published randomised clinical trial contrasting SPSP and CBT for depression (both 16 sessions). We compared the effectiveness of these psychotherapies for patients with and without personality disorder (n = 196). The primary measure was depression outcome; the secondary measurements were interpersonal functioning and quality of life. Collected data were analysed using multilevel analysis. Trial registration: ISRCTN31263312 (http://www.controlled-trials.com).
Although participants with and without comorbid personality disorder improved at treatment termination (d = 1.04, 95% CI 0.77–1.31 and d = 1.36, 95% CI 0.97–1.76, respectively) and at follow-up (d = 1.15, 95% CI 0.87–1.43 and d = 2.12, 95% CI 1.65–2.59 respectively), personality disorder had a negative effect on depression outcome at both measurement points (P < 0.05). A similar negative effect on interpersonal functioning was no longer apparent at follow-up. Comorbid personality disorder had no influence on social functioning or quality of life outcomes, irrespective of treatment modality.
CBT and SPSP contribute to the improvement of depressive symptoms and interpersonal problems in depressed patients with and without comorbid personality disorder. Both treatments are an effective first step in a stepped care approach, but – given remaining levels of depression in patients with personality disorder – they are probably inadequate for large numbers of patients with this comorbidity.