Comparison of desipramine and cognitive/behavioral therapy in the treatment of elderly outpatients with mild-to-moderate depression

Larry W. Thompson, David W. Coon, Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Barbara R. Sommer, Dolores Koin

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Abstract

The authors evaluated the efficacy of desipramine-alone, vs. cognitive/behavioral therapy-alone (CBT) vs. a combination of the two, for the treatment of depression in older adult outpatients. Patients (N = 102) meeting criteria for major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to one of these three treatments for 16 to 20 therapy sessions. All treatments resulted in substantial improvement. In general, the CBT-Alone and Combined groups had similar levels of improvement. In most analyses, the Combined group showed greater improvement than the Desipramine-Alone group, whereas the CBT-Alone group showed only marginally better improvement. The combined therapies were most effective in patients who were more severely depressed, particularly when desipramine was at or above recommended stable dosage levels. The results indicate that psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for older adult outpatients with moderate levels of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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