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BACKGROUND: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and maintenance antidepressant medication (mADM) both reduce the risk of relapse in recurrent depression, but their combination has not been studied. Our aim was to investigate whether the addition of MBCT to mADM is a more effective prevention strategy than mADM alone. METHODS: This study is one of two multicenter randomised trials comparing the combination of MBCT and mADM to either intervention on its own. In the current trial, recurrently depressed patients in remission who had been using mADM for 6 months or longer (n=68), were randomly allocated to either MBCT+mADM (n=33) or mADM alone (n=35). Primary outcome was depressive relapse/recurrence within 15 months. Key secondary outcomes were time to relapse/recurrence and depression severity. Analyses were based on intention-to-treat. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the groups on any of the outcome measures. LIMITATIONS: The current study included patients who had recovered from depression with mADM and who preferred the certainty of continuing medication to the possibility of participating in MBCT. Lower expectations of mindfulness in the current trial, compared with the parallel trial, may have caused selection bias. In addition, recruitment was hampered by the increasing availability of MBCT in the Netherlands, and even about a quarter of participants included in the trial who were allocated to the control group chose to get MBCT elsewhere. CONCLUSIONS: For this selection of recurrently depressed patients in remission and using mADM for 6 months or longer, MBCT did not further reduce their risk for relapse/recurrence or their (residual) depressive symptoms.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.jad.2015.08.023

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Affect Disord

Publication Date

15/11/2015

Volume

187

Pages

54 - 61

Keywords

Antidepressant medication, Depressive disorder, Mindfulness, Prevention, Randomized controlled trial, Antidepressive Agents, Cognitive Therapy, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Mindfulness, Netherlands, Recurrence, Treatment Outcome