Efficacy of a psychological online intervention for depression in people with epilepsy: a randomized controlled trial

Epilepsia. 2014 Dec;55(12):2069-76. doi: 10.1111/epi.12833. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


Objective: Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder in persons with epilepsy (PWEs). Despite its major impact on quality of life and risk of suicide, most PWEs are not treated for depression. A current challenge in mental health care is how to close this treatment gap and increase access to psychological services. Psychological online interventions (POIs) have shown efficacy in improving depression among individuals without neurologic disorders. This pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility and efficacy of a psychological online intervention for depression (Deprexis) in PWEs who have symptoms of depression.

Methods: Participants with self-reported epilepsy and subjective complaints of depressive symptoms were randomized to an intervention condition (Deprexis) or to a waiting list control (WLC) condition. After 9 weeks, participants were invited to complete an online reassessment.

Results: Relative to the waiting list group, program users experienced a significant symptom decline on the Beck Depression Inventory - I (BDI-I, primary outcome) with a moderate effect size in the complete observations analysis and a small effect size in the intention-to-treat analysis. Furthermore, there was a significant improvement with a moderate effect size on the "energy/fatigue" subscale of the Quality of Life In Epilepsy Inventory - 31 (QOLIE-31).

Significance: The results of this trial suggest that POIs may be a feasible and beneficial tool for PWEs who have comorbid depressive symptoms.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01663649.

Keywords: Depression; Deprexis; Epilepsy; Internet intervention; iCBT.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / rehabilitation*
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Epilepsy / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Online Systems*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapeutic Processes*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01663649