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Clinical Trials Update
March 24/31, 2020

Online Mindfulness Therapy Improves Residual Depression

JAMA. 2020;323(12):1124. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2446

Patients whose depression lingered after treatment had less severe residual symptoms, higher rates of remission, and lower rates of relapse following online mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a trial in JAMA Psychiatry reported.

Online mindfulness therapy helped patients whose depression treatment didn’t provide full relief.

iStock.com/Neustockimages

The study’s 460 participants, who had achieved partial remission with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both, were randomized to usual depression care (UDC) or to Mindfulness Mood Balance (MMB) plus UDC. Over 3 months, the 8-session online intervention taught skills to prevent dysfunctional thinking patterns, with minimal phone or email support.

During the 15-month study, patients in the MMB-plus-UDC group had a significantly greater reduction in depressive symptoms and 59.4% achieved remission compared with 47% of the UDC-only group. Over the 12-month follow-up, 13.5% of the intervention group relapsed compared with 23% of the control group.

The intervention reduces undertreatment of residual depressive symptoms and may be a solution for treating minor depression in the workplace because of its potential cost-effectiveness, confidentiality, and accessibility, the authors suggested. However, only 27% of the intervention group completed all 8 sessions.

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