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© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017. Psychotic depression is a severe condition. Drug treatment (antipsychotics, antidepressants or the combination) or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are both effective. However, a 2005 Cochrane review of drug treatments could not find a clear benefit for combination treatment with antidepressant and antipsychotic medication over antidepressants alone. The current updated Cochrane review (2015) incorporated two larger studies and found evidence of superiority for combination treatment. The review was constrained by the small number of available studies and could not address key questions such as the relative merits of antipsychotics and/or antidepressants compared with ECT or ketamine in acute treatment, and which treatments are best for long-term maintenance and prevention of recurrence. However, the methodology used was rigorous and the review gives the best summary to date of the evidence, as well as providing a platform for informing future research.

Original publication




Journal article


BJ Psych Advances

Publication Date





3 - 8