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What do we know about long-term treatment outcomes for severe depressive disorders?

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry Open
Issue number2
Published17 Mar 2020

King's Authors


In a recent issue of BJPsych Open, McPherson & Hengartner (see reviewed 11 trials examining psychological and pharmacological treatment outcomes for chronic or treatment-resistant depression. They concluded that when assessed in the long term, antidepressants become less effective whereas psychological therapies become more effective. We argue that the evidence does not support this; indeed, most of the studies reviewed do not directly compare antidepressant with psychological therapy treatments and there is little consistency between them in terms of populations and interventions examined. The issue of long-term outcomes is key for optimising clinical guidelines and deserves more intensive research and scrutiny to improve patient response in routine practice.

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