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BACKGROUND: Antidepressants are often the first-line treatment for depression but only one third of patients respond fully to pharmacotherapy. This paper describes the protocol for a randomised controlled trial (RCT) designed to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for patients with treatment resistant depression in primary care. METHODS/DESIGN: CoBalT is a two parallel group multi-centre pragmatic RCT. Eligible participants were those who: (i) were aged 18-75years; (ii) were currently taking antidepressant medication (for at least 6weeks at an adequate dose); (iii) scored ≥14 on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II); (iv) had adhered to their medication; and (v) met ICD-10 criteria for depression (assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule - revised version). Those who gave written informed consent were randomised to one of two treatment groups: usual care or usual care plus CBT. The primary outcome is depressive symptoms assessed using the BDI-II at 6months post-randomisation. Secondary outcomes measured at 6 and 12months include quality of life, antidepressant use and health care utilisation. Outcomes will be analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. DISCUSSION: The CoBalT trial will provide evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBT as an adjunct to antidepressant medication in the treatment of depression that has not responded to pharmacotherapy. Given the move to widen access to 'talking therapies', the results of this study will be timely.

Original publication




Journal article


Contemp Clin Trials

Publication Date





312 - 319


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Antidepressive Agents, Cognitive Therapy, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Compliance, Primary Health Care, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult