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February 1985

Treatment of Depression With Cognitive Therapy and Amitriptyline

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Cognitive Therapy, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (Drs Beck and Young); Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Dr Hollon); Massachusetts Center for Cognitive Therapy, Westboro (Dr Bedrosian); and Harvard University School of Medicine, Cambridge, Mass (Mr Budenz).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1985;42(2):142-148. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790250036005

• Thirty-three outpatients with primary nonbipolar depression received individual treatment with either cognitive therapy alone (n =18) or cognitive therapy plus amitriptyline hydrochloride pharmacotherapy (n=15). All patients were treated according to a protocol specifying a maximum of 20 sessions during a 12-week period. Both groups showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful decreases in depressive symptoms. No differences emerged between the two groups in terms of the magnitude of the decrease in depressive symptoms. The addition of tricyclic antidepressant medication did not improve the response obtained by cognitive therapy alone, during the short-term treatment phase. Although there was a nonsignificant trend suggesting greater stability of gains for the combined treatment at a one-year follow-up, the patients had more therapy during the follow-up period. There was no evidence of any negative interaction between cognitive therapy and pharmacotherapy, although evidence for any positive additive or interactive effect was meager.

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