You are here

Combination Treatment Most Effective in Adolescents with Depression

BETHESDA, MD - August 17, 2004 - A clinical trial of 439 adolescents with major depression has found a combination of medication and psychotherapy to be the most effective treatment. Funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the study compared cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with fluoxetine, currently the only antidepressant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children and adolescents. John March, M.D., Duke University, and colleagues, report on findings of the multi-site trial in the August 18, 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). To view the published article, click here.

The results of the first 12 weeks of the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS), conducted at 13 sites nationwide, show that 71 percent responded to the combination of fluoxetine and CBT. The other three treatment groups, of participants between the ages of 12 and 17, also showed improvement, with a 60.6 percent response to fluoxetine-only treatment, and 43.2 percent response from those receiving only CBT. The response rate was 34.8 percent for a group that received a placebo. The difference in response rates for the latter two treatment groups was not statistically significant.

The $17 million study is the first large, federally funded study using an antidepressant medication to treat adolescents suffering with moderate to severe depression. TADS was conducted between the spring of the year 2000 and the summer of 2003.

Clinically significant suicidal thinking, which was present in 29 percent of the volunteers at the beginning of the study, improved significantly in all four treatment groups, with those receiving medication and therapy showing the greatest reduction.

For more information on TADS, visit

Source: The National Institutes of Health

Recent Headlines

Patients Had Improved Lung Function, Fewer Exacerbations
Particularly Serious: Antidepressants, Drugs for Parkinson’s and Epilepsy
Drug “Remarkably Effective” at Killing Range of Gram-Positive Bacteria
Up to 70% Greater Risk of Bacterial Infection, 48% Risk for Fungal Infection
Most Women Undergoing Surgery for Suspected Cancer Do Not Have It
Specific Monoclonal Antibodies Ensure Extreme Sensitivity, Accuracy
Record-High Number of Cases in France, Italy, Greece, Other Locations
Will Have a Longer Shelf Life Than Current, Expired Stockpile