Mindfulness trial shows an alternative to anti-depressant drugs

A trial funded by the HTA Programme that compared mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) with anti-depressant drugs to prevent depressive relapse has published in The Lancet

MBCT had previously been shown to reduce the risk of relapse or recurrence of depression when compared to usual care, however this is the first large scale trial to compare MBCT with the use of anti-depressants as a treatment.

The PREVENT trial compared the use of MBCT, coupled with support to taper or discontinue the use of anti-depressants as a treatment method (MBCT-TS), to the use of regular maintained anti-depressants as a treatment.

The trial recruited patients with three or more major incidents of depression and were receiving anti-depressants. They were then randomly assigned MBCT-TS or maintained anti-depressants as a treatment and were followed up over a two-year period to assess if there were relapses or recurrence of depression.

The trial found no evidence that MBCT-TS worked any better than anti-depressants, but did offer an effective alternative method of treatment for patients.

Lead researcher Professor Willem Kuyken from the University of Exeter said;

“Whilst this study doesn’t show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works any better than maintenance anti-depressant medication in reducing the rate of relapse in depression, we believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions.”

Find out more about the project via the NIHR website.

More articles     Posted on: 24 April 2015