Combination Treatment Most Effective in Adolescents with Depression

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A clinical trial of 439 adolescents (ages 12 to 17) with major depression has found that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for the disorder. After the first 12 weeks of the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study - conducted at 13 sites nationwide - 71 percent of those who received a combination of fluoxetine and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) responded positively. Fluoxetine is the only anti-depression drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by children and adolescents.

Three other groups of participants also showed improvement, with a 61 percent positive response to fluoxetine-only treatment, a 43 percent positive response among those receiving only CBT, and a 35 percent rate in a group that received a placebo. Clinically significant suicidal thinking improved significantly in all four groups, with those receiving both medication and therapy showing the greatest reduction.

Cost: $15, Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 64, No. 10, October 2007. (800) 422-4633,