Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Depressive disorder is common in children and adolescents, with important consequences and serious impairments in terms of personal and social functioning. While both pharmacological and psychological interventions have been shown to be effective, there is still uncertainty about the balance between these and what treatment strategy should be preferred in clinical practice. Therefore, we aim to compare and rank in a network meta-analysis (NMA) the commonly used psychological, pharmacological and combined interventions for depressive disorder in children and adolescents.We will update the literature search of two previous NMAs for the identification of trials of antidepressant and psychotherapy alone for depressive disorder in children and adolescents. For identification of trials of combination interventions, seven databases (PubMed, EMBASE, CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), Web of Science, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LiLACS) will be searched from date of inception. We will also search, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform and check relevant reports on the US Food and Drug Administration website for unpublished data. Building on our previous findings in the field, we will include any commonly prescribed oral antidepressants and any manualised or structured psychotherapies, as well as their combinations. Randomised controlled trials assessing any active intervention against active comparator or pill placebo/psychological controls in acute treatment for depressive disorder in children and adolescents will be included. The primary outcomes will be efficacy (mean change in depressive symptoms), and acceptability of treatment (dropout rate due to any cause). The secondary outcomes will be remission rate, tolerability of treatment (dropouts for adverse events), as well as suicide-related outcomes (suicidal behaviour or ideation). We will perform Bayesian NMAs for all relative outcome measures. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses will be conducted to assess the robustness of the findings.This NMA will provide the most up to date and clinically useful information about the comparative efficacy and acceptability of antidepressants, psychological intervention and their combination in the acute treatment of children and adolescents with depressive disorder. This is the newest NMA and therefore these results are very important in terms of evidence-based medicine. The results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publication.PROSPERO CRD42015020841.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ open

Publication Date





e016608 - e016608


Department of Psychiatry, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.