In adults with depression, how effective is adding psychiatric medication to psychotherapy compared with psychotherapy alone for improving patient outcomes?
No definite clinical implications can
be made from the current evidence. The studies included in this
BEST summary included patients with different severities of
depression, and also evaluated different medications and types of
psychotherapy, so that generalisations are difficult to make. One
well conducted systematic review (which included studies evaluating
any type of pharmacotherapy and any type of psychotherapy) reported
that combined treatment was more effective than psychological
treatment alone in the short-term. The authors also reported,
however, that these results should be treated with caution.
None of the included studies made
clear research recommendations. The authors of the systematic
review stated that more long-term studies needed to evaluate the
relative efficacy of psychological and combined treatments, and
that more basic research is required to explore the mechanisms
through which both treatments work.