A study by RCSI indicates that exercise is probably the most effective short-term treatment for depression in people with coronary heart disease, when compared to antidepressants and psychotherapy or more complex care.
The study, led by researchers at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is published in the June edition of Psychosomatic Medicine.
This is the first systematic review to compare treatments for depression in those with coronary disease and the findings provide valuable clinical information to help doctors determine the best treatment plan for patients.
The researchers reviewed treatment trials which investigated antidepressants, psychotherapy, exercise, combined psychotherapy and antidepressants, and collaborative care (i.e. treatments devised by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians with input from the patient).
To measure effectiveness, the researchers looked at factors including patient adherence to the treatment (dropout rate) and change in depressive symptoms eight weeks after commencing treatment.
The strongest treatment effects were found to be exercise and combination treatments (antidepressants and psychotherapy). However, as the combination study results have a high risk of bias, the findings of the review suggest that exercise is probably the most effective treatment. Antidepressants had the most research support, while psychotherapy and collaborative care did not perform very well.
Release date: 08 Jun 2021