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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.
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) display cognitive deficits in acutely depressed and remitted states. Childhood maltreatment is associated with cognitive dysfunction in adults, but its impact on cognition and treatment related cognitive outcomes in adult MDD has received little consideration. We investigate whether, compared to patients without maltreatment and healthy participants, adult MDD patients with childhood maltreatment display greater cognitive deficits in acute depression, lower treatment-associated cognitive improvements, and lower cognitive performance in remission.
Healthy and acutely depressed MDD participants were enrolled in a multi-center MDD predictive marker discovery trial. MDD participants received 16 weeks of standardized antidepressant treatment. Maltreatment and cognition were assessed with the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse interview and the CNS Vital Signs battery, respectively. Cognitive scores and change from baseline to week 16 were compared amongst MDD participants with (DM+, n = 93) and without maltreatment (DM−, n = 90), and healthy participants with (HM+, n = 22) and without maltreatment (HM−, n = 80). Separate analyses in MDD participants who remitted were conducted.
DM+ had lower baseline global cognition, processing speed, and memory v. HM−, with no significant baseline differences amongst DM−, HM+, and HM− groups. There were no significant between-group differences in cognitive change over 16 weeks. Post-treatment remitted DM+, but not remitted DM−, scored significantly lower than HM− in working memory and processing speed.
Childhood maltreatment was associated with cognitive deficits in depressed and remitted adults with MDD. Maltreatment may be a risk factor for more severe and persistent cognitive deficits in adult MDD.
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are the most frequently used observer-rated and self-report scales of depression, respectively. It is important to know what a given total score or a change score from baseline on one scale means in relation to the other scale.
We obtained individual participant data from the randomised controlled trials of psychological and pharmacological treatments for major depressive disorders. We then identified corresponding scores of the HAMD and the BDI (369 patients from seven trials) or the BDI-II (683 patients from another seven trials) using the equipercentile linking method.
The HAMD total scores of 10, 20 and 30 corresponded approximately with the BDI scores of 10, 27 and 42 or with the BDI-II scores of 13, 32 and 50. The HAMD change scores of −20 and −10 with the BDI of −29 and −15 and with the BDI-II of −35 and −16.
The results can help clinicians interpret the HAMD or BDI scores of their patients in a more versatile manner and also help clinicians and researchers evaluate such scores reported in the literature or the database, when scores on only one of these scales are provided. We present a conversion table for future research.
Although cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a well-established treatment for adult depression, its efficacy and efficiency may be enhanced by better understanding its mechanism(s) of action. According to the theoretical model of CBT, symptom improvement occurs via reductions in maladaptive cognition. However, previous research has not established clear evidence for this cognitive mediation model.
The present study investigated the cognitive mediation model of CBT in the context of a randomized controlled trial of CBT v. antidepressant medication (ADM) for adult depression. Participants with major depressive disorder were randomized to receive 16 weeks of CBT (n = 54) or ADM (n = 50). Depression symptoms and three candidate cognitive mediators (dysfunctional attitudes, cognitive distortions and negative automatic thoughts) were assessed at week 0 (pre-treatment), week 4, week 8 and week 16 (post-treatment). Longitudinal associations between cognition and depression symptoms, and mediation of treatment outcome, were evaluated in structural equation models.
Both CBT and ADM produced significant reductions in maladaptive cognition and depression symptoms. Cognitive content and depression symptoms were moderately correlated within measurement waves, but cross-lagged associations between the variables and indirect (i.e. mediated) treatment effects were non-significant.
The results provide support for concurrent relationships between cognitive and symptom change, but not the longitudinal relationships hypothesized by the cognitive mediation model. Results may be indicative of an incongruence between the timing of measurement and the dynamics of cognitive and symptom change.
In an effort to optimize patient outcomes, considerable attention is being devoted to identifying patient characteristics associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and its responsiveness to treatment. In the current study, we extend this work by evaluating whether early change in these sensitivities is associated with response to antidepressant treatment for MDD.
Participants included 210 patients with MDD who were treated with 8 weeks of escitalopram and 112 healthy comparison participants. Of the original 210 patients, 90 non-responders received adjunctive aripiprazole for an additional 8 weeks. Symptoms of depression and anhedonia were assessed at the beginning of treatment and 8 weeks later in both samples. Reward and punishment sensitivity were assessed using the BIS/BAS scales measured at the initiation of treatment and 2 weeks later.
Individuals with MDD exhibited higher punishment sensitivity and lower reward sensitivity compared with healthy comparison participants. Change in reward sensitivity during the first 2 weeks of treatment was associated with improved depressive symptoms and anhedonia following 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram. Similarly, improvement in reward responsiveness during the first 2 weeks of adjunctive therapy with aripiprazole was associated with fewer symptoms of depression at post-treatment.
Findings highlight the predictive utility of early change in reward sensitivity during antidepressant treatment for major depression. In a clinical setting, a lack of change in early reward processing may signal a need to modify a patient's treatment plan with alternative or augmented treatment approaches.
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