Drug + Therapy Combo Best for Teen Depression
Combined Approach Judged Better Than Drugs or Therapy Alone
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 17, 2004 -- Treating depressed teenagers with a
combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy is better than either
treatment approach alone, according to a major new study.
The results also suggest that combining antidepressant
treatment with talk therapy may help alleviate some of the potentially harmful
or suicidal behaviors that may be associated with antidepressant use.
Researchers found more teenagers with major depression got
relief and were effectively treated for their condition with a combination of
Prozac, one of a class of commonly used antidepressants known as SSRIs, and
cognitive behavioral therapy than with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or
The study also showed that the combination of Prozac and
cognitive behavioral therapy produced the greatest reduction in suicidal
thinking among the different treatment approaches. However, researchers found
an increase in harm-related adverse events associated with antidepressant use
that may be tempered by behavioral therapy.
"The greatest benefit at the lowest risk is not to use
medication alone but to use it in combination with cognitive behavioral
therapy," says researcher John March, MD, MPH, of Duke University Medical
Earlier this year, the FDA warned parents and health care
providers that children and adolescents taking antidepressants should be
closely monitored for worsening depression and suicidal thinking, especially at
the start of treatment. FDA officials are currently reviewing data on a
possible link between antidepressant use and suicide risk in children and is
expected to discuss their findings at a meeting next month.