The efficacy of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, fluoxetine and their combination in the outpatient treatment of depression

  • Bastos A
  • Guimaraes L
  • Trentini C
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Abstract Objective: There are few randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy (LTPP) in depression treatment. LTPP was compared with fluoxetine treatment and their combination; Methods: 272 depressed patients (aged 26-34, 72% with a first episode of depression) were randomized to receive LTPP (one session/week), fluoxetine treatment (20-60 mg/day) or their combination for 24 months. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was the outcome measure. The psychotherapy was not manualized and the treatment took place under real-life conditions in an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Results: Intention-to-treat analyses indicated that all the treatments were associated with significant reductions in the BDI scores (mean reduction of 18.88 BDI points). Furthermore, LTPP and combination therapy were more effective in reducing BDI scores than fluoxetine alone (22.08 and 22.04 vs. 12.53 BDI points). Conclusions: LTPP, pharmacological treatment with fluoxetine and their combination are effective in reducing symptoms of patients with moderate depression. LTPP and combined treatment were more effective compared to fluoxetine alone. These findings have implications for patients with depression who may benefit from long-term psychotherapy or combined treatment, or for depressed patients who do not wish to take medications such as fluoxetine.

Author-supplied keywords

  • depression
  • fluoxetine
  • long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy

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  • Andre Goettems Bastos

  • Luciano Santos Pinto Guimaraes

  • Clarissa Marceli Trentini

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