Background: Major depressive disorder is associated with significant impairment in occupational functioning and reduced productivity, which represents a large part of the overall burden of depression.
Aims: To examine symptom-based and work functioning outcomes with combined pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy treatment of major depressive disorder.
Method: Employed patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of major depressive disorder were treated with escitalopram 10-20 mg/day and randomised to: (a) telephone-administered cognitive-behavioural therapy (telephone CBT) (n = 48); or (b) adherence-reminder telephone calls (n = 51). Outcomes included the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), administered by masked evaluators via telephone, and self-rated work functioning scales completed online. (Registered at clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00702598.)
Results: After 12 weeks, there were no significant between-group differences in change in MADRS score or in response/remission rates. However, participants in the telephone-CBT group had significantly greater improvement on some measures of work functioning than the escitalopram-alone group.
Conclusions: Combined treatment with escitalopram and telephone-administered CBT significantly improved some self-reported work functioning outcomes, but not symptom-based outcomes, compared with escitalopram alone.