November 3, 2009 / 9:22 PM / 10 years ago

Treating depression in teens has lasting benefits

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Longer-term treatment of depression for adolescents is associated with persistent benefits, even after treatment ends, according to results of the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS).

TADS is a randomized, controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of three common treatments for adolescents with depression: the antidepressant Prozac (also called fluoxetine); “talk therapy,” also called cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT); their combination (Prozac plus CBT), and, where appropriate, management with a placebo pill (used as a control condition).

A total of 327 depressed teens who participated in the study received active treatment for 36 weeks and were then followed for 1 year.

Dr. John March, of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues found that the treatment benefits in terms of lower levels of depression and suicidal thoughts observed at the end of active treatment persisted during follow-up.

In addition, the findings demonstrate that longer-term treatment results in clinically meaningful improvement even when active treatment is stopped, they report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

“In contrast, to earlier reports on short-term treatments, in which worsening after treatment is the rule, the longer treatment in the TADS was associated with persistent benefits” over 1 year of follow-up, March and colleagues note.

SOURCE: American Journal of Psychiatry, October 2009.

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