Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionMindfulness

Mindfulness, as good as antidepressants for depression

That’s the conclusion from this study at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, in Ontario.

First, the details.

  • 160 adults patients with major depressive disorder and a minimum of 2 past episodes were included in the study.
  • Of these, 84 achieved remission and were assigned to 1 of the 3 treatment groups.
    • Discontinued their antidepressants and attended 8 weekly group sessions of Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
    • Continued their therapeutic dose of antidepressant medication
    • Discontinued active medication and were switched to placebo
  • Relapse was defined as a return, for at least 2 weeks, of symptoms sufficient to meet the criteria for major depression on module A of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.

And, the results.

  • There was no significant difference in relapse rates: 38% for MBCT, 46% for antidepressant maintenance, 60% for placebo.
  • MBCT and antidepressant maintenance significantly reduced the risk for relapse in unstable remitters (ie, responders to treatment) compared to placebo.
  • For stable remitters, there was no significant difference in relapse rates between the 3 groups: 62% for MBCT, 59% for antidepressant maintenance, and 50% for placebo

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “For those unwilling or unable to tolerate maintenance antidepressant treatment, MBCT offers equal protection from relapse during an 18-month period.”

The authors recommend to continue at least 1 long-term active treatment (MBCT or antidepressants) in unstable remitters.

Background on mindfulness is here.

12/10/10 21:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.