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Methods: Studies of randomized clinical trials of IPT efficacy were located by searching all available data bases from 1974 to 2002. The searches employed the following MeSH categories: Depression/Depressive Disorder; Interpersonal therapy; Outcome/Adverse Effects/Efficacy; in the identified studies. The efficacy outcomes were: remission; clinical improvement; the difference in depressive symptoms between the two arms of the trial at endpoint, and no recurrence. Drop out rates were used as an index of treatment acceptability. Results: Thirteen studies fulfilled inclusion criteria and four meta-analyses were performed. IPT was superior in efficacy to placebo in nine studies (Weight Mean Difference (WMD) - 3.57 [-5.9, -1.16]). The combination of IPT and medication did not show an adjunctive effect compared to medication alone for acute treatment (RR 0.78 [0.30,2.04]), for maintenance treatment (RR 1.01 [0.81, 1.25]), or for prophylactic treatment (RR 0.70 [0.30, 1.65]). IPT was significantly better than CBT (WMD-2.16 [-4.16, -0.15]). Conclusion: The efficacy of IPT proved to be superior to placebo, similar to medication and did not increase when combined with medication. Overall, IPT was more efficacious than CBT. Current evidence indicates that IPT is an efficacious psychotherapy for DSD and may be superior to some other manualized psychotherapies.

 Psychotherapy for chronic major depression and dysthymia: A meta-analysis.

Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Schuurmans, J., van Oppen, P., Hollon, S. D. & Andersson, G. (2010). Clinical Psychology Review, 30(1), 51-62.

Although several studies have examined the effects of psychotherapy on chronic depression and dysthymia, no meta-analysis has been conducted to integrate results of these studies. We conducted a meta-analysis of 16 randomized trials examining the effects of psychotherapy on chronic depression and dysthymia. We found that psychotherapy had a small but significant effect (d =0.23) on depression when compared to control groups. Psychotherapy was significantly less effective than pharmacotherapy in direct comparisons (d =−0.31), especially SSRIs, but that this finding was wholly attributable to dysthymic patients (the studies examining dysthymia patients were the same studies that examined SSRIs). Combined treatment was more effective than pharmacotherapy alone (d =0.23) but even more so with respect to psychotherapy alone (d =0.45), although again this difference may have reflected the greater proportion of dysthymic samples in the latter. No significant differences were found in drop-out rates between psychotherapy and the other conditions. We found indications that at least 18 treatment sessions are needed to realize optimal effects of psychotherapy. We conclude that psychotherapy is effective in the treatment of chronic depression and dysthymia but probably not as effective as pharmacotherapy (particularly the SSRIs).  

Psychotherapy for depression in adults: A meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies. 

Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Andersson, G. & van Oppen, P. (2008). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(6), 909-922.

Although the subject has been debated and examined for more than 3 decades, it is still not clear whether all psychotherapies are equally efficacious. The authors conducted 7 meta-analyses (with a total of 53 studies) in which 7 major types of psychological treatment for mild to moderate adult depression (cognitive-behavior therapy, nondirective supportive treatment, behavioral activation treatment, psychodynamic treatment, problem-solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and social skills training) were directly compared with other psychological treatments. Each major type of treatment had been examined in at least 5 randomized comparative trials. There was no indication that 1 of the treatments was more or less efficacious, with the exception of interpersonal psychotherapy (which was somewhat more efficacious; d = 0.20) and nondirective supportive treatment (which was somewhat less efficacious than the other treatments; d = -0.13). The drop-out rate was significantly higher in cognitive-behavior therapy than in the other

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