Background: Although depression is common among patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis, data on their acceptance of treatment and on the comparative efficacy of various therapies are limited.
Objective: To determine the effect of an engagement interview on treatment acceptance (phase 1) and to compare the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) versus sertraline (phase 2) for treating depression in patients receiving hemodialysis.
Design: Multicenter, parallel-group, open-label, randomized controlled trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02358343).
Setting: 41 dialysis facilities in 3 U.S. metropolitan areas.
Participants: Patients who had been receiving hemodialysis for at least 3 months and had a Beck Depression Inventory-II score of 15 or greater; 184 patients participated in phase 1, and 120 subsequently participated in phase 2.
Intervention: Engagement interview versus control visit (phase 1) and 12 weeks of CBT delivered in the dialysis facility versus sertraline treatment (phase 2).
Measurements: The primary outcome for phase 1 was the proportion of participants who started depression treatment within 28 days. For phase 2, the primary outcome was depressive symptoms measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms-Clinician-Rated (QIDS-C) at 12 weeks.
Results: The proportion of participants who initiated treatment after the engagement or control visit did not differ (66% vs. 64%, respectively; P = 0.77; estimated risk difference, 2.1 [95% CI, -12.1 to 16.4]). Compared with CBT, sertraline treatment resulted in lower QIDS-C depression scores at 12 weeks (effect estimate, -1.84 [CI, -3.54 to -0.13]; P = 0.035). Adverse events were more frequent in the sertraline than the CBT group.
Limitation: No randomized comparison was made with no treatment, and persistence of treatment effect was not assessed.
Conclusion: An engagement interview with patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis had no effect on their acceptance of treatment for depression. After 12 weeks of treatment, depression scores were modestly better with sertraline treatment than with CBT.
Primary funding source: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Dialysis Clinic, Kidney Research Institute, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.