Speed of action: The relative efficacy of short psychodynamic supportive psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in the first 8 weeks of a treatment algorithm for depression.
Aalst, G. van
Jonghe, F. de
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Abstract Objective To examine the efficacy and speed of action of short-term psychodynamic supportive psychotherapy (SPSP) in comparison to pharmacotherapy (PhT) in the acute treatment of depression. Method This study reported on the first 8 weeks of a treatment algorithm for depression. 70 patients with a depressive episode according to DSM-IV were randomized to PhT, 71 patients were randomized to SPSP. The acceptability of the psychotherapy was greater than pharmacotherapy. Results At the end of the first 8 weeks of treatment, attrition rates were similar in both conditions. PhT-patients were better off at 4 weeks according to two of the four measures The superiority of PhT was clearer on the self-report than on the independent measure. Conclusions There are signs that the benefits of PhT over SPSP—where detected—are short-lived and cover mostly the first month of treatment. The progression of these patients through the rest of their treatments, and afterwards, will be reported in further contributions. Keywords: Depression, Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, Pharmacotherapy, Randomized clinical trial, Speed of action