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Clinical Trials Update
January 26, 2016

Light Therapy Improves Nonseasonal Major Depression

JAMA. 2016;315(4):337. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18457

Bright light treatment either alone or combined with the antidepressant fluoxetine hydrochloride was an effective and well-tolerated treatment for adults with nonseasonal major depressive disorder (MDD), according to a recent clinical trial (Lam RW et al. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2235 [published online November 18, 2015]).

The 8-week trial randomized 122 patients to receive 1 of 4 interventions: light therapy (30 min/d exposure to a 10 000-lux fluorescent light box on awakening) and placebo pill, fluoxetine (20 mg daily) and placebo device (an inactive negative ion generator for 30 min/d), combination light and fluoxetine treatment, or placebo device and placebo pill. Participants were diagnosed with MDD by a psychiatrist, did not have seasonal affective disorder, scored 20 or higher on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and had not taken psychotropic medications for at least 2 weeks prior to the baseline visit.

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