Background: The long-term course of symptoms in patients with mild-to-moderate depression is not well understood. A 12-month-follow-up analysis was performed on those participants from a randomized controlled 10-week trial (RCT, MIND-study), who had received either treatment with an antidepressant (sertraline) or a psychotherapeutic intervention (group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)).
Methods: The longitudinal interval follow-up evaluation (LIFE) was applied to 77 patients with mild-to moderate depression. The primary outcome was the number of weeks in the one-year follow-up period spent completely recovered from all depressive symptoms. Functional outcome was measured with the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale. Further outcomes were relapse and remission rates based on weekly psychiatric rating scales (PSR) and the number of weeks in the follow-up period during which patients had a depressive disorder or subthreshold symptoms of depression.
Results: Patients with acute treatment (10 weeks) with SSRI and those with acute treatment with CBT (also 10 weeks) did not differ significantly concerning the number of weeks in the follow-up period in which they were completely recovered (primary outcome) (SSRI: 31.6 weeks (standard deviation (SD): 23.7), CBT: 27.8 weeks (SD: 24.3)). Sertraline was superior to CBT regarding GAF scores by trend (p = 0.06).
Limitations: The generalizability of the findings is limited by the moderate sample size and missing values (LIFE).
Conclusions: Sertraline and group CBT have similar anti-depressive effects in the long-term course of mild-tomoderate depression. Regarding long-term global functioning, sertraline seems to be slightly superior to CBT.
- Clinical trial
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Primary care
- Long-term effects
- GLOBAL ASSESSMENT