Background: Chronic depression is a particularly disabling mood disorder and treatment outcomes are poor with either psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. There is growing evidence that an integrative treatment approach may be optimal. A novel multi-modal, multi-disciplinary treatment program, Re-ChORD, was developed at the University of British Columbia and evaluated in this pilot study.
Methods: Re-ChORD consisted of guidelines-based medication management, and group-based interpersonal psychotherapy and occupational therapy. A randomized, parallel-groups, open-treatment trial was conducted comparing Re-ChORD to treatment as usual (TAU). Inclusion criteria were current depression (17-item Ham-D > or = 15) and a diagnosis of a chronic depressive disorder. The primary outcome variable was clinical remission (17-item Ham-D < or = 7) at 4 month assessment.
Results: A total of 64 patients were randomised to Re-ChORD (N=34) and TAU (N=30). Under both intention to treat (ITT) and completer analyses, the remission rate was significantly higher in the Re-ChORD than TAU groups. Treatment effect size for remission was of medium magnitude (22.2% and 29.6% over TAU under ITT and completer analyses).
Limitations: We did not collect sufficient follow-up data to investigate maintenance of gains. Re-ChORD shares elements with other combined treatments, and the present positive findings cannot be interpreted as being specific to the Re-ChORD program.
Conclusions: Consistent with growing evidence that integrative treatments are necessary for chronic depressive disorders, Re-ChORD was demonstrated in this pilot study to produce significantly greater rates of remission than treatment as usual. A larger-scale trial is warranted.
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