The new issue of *Journal of Affective Disorders* (vol 110, #3) includes
an article: “A meta-analysis of psychotherapy and medication in unipolar
depression and dysthymia.”

Zac Imel, Melanie Malterer, Kevin McKay, and Bruce Wampold are the authors.

Conclusions: Our results indicated that both psychotherapy and
medication are viable treatments for unipolar depression and that
psychotherapy may offer a prophylactic effect not provided by
medication. However, our analyses diverged from previous findings in
that effects were not consistent and medication was significantly more
efficacious than psychotherapy in the treatment of dysthymia.

Here’s the abstract:

[begin abstract]

Background: There remains considerable disagreement regarding the
relative efficacy of psychotherapy and medication across types of depression.

Method: We used random effects meta-analysis to examine the relative
efficacy of psychotherapy vis-à-vis medication at posttreatment and
follow-up. We also estimated the relative efficacy of continued
medication versus discontinued psychotherapy. As twenty-eight studies
(39 effects, n = 3381) met inclusion criteria, we were able to conduct
an adequately powered test of between study heterogeneity and examine if
the type of depression influenced relative efficacy.

Results: Psychotherapy and medication were not significantly different
at post-treatment, however effect sizes were not consistent. Although
there was no association between severity and relative efficacy, a small
but significant advantage for medications in the treatment of dysthymia
did emerge. However, psychotherapy showed a significant advantage over
medication at follow-up and this advantage was positively associated
with length of follow-up. Moreover, discontinued acute phase
psychotherapy did not differ from continued medication at follow-up.

Limitations: Limitations included relatively fewer studies of severe and
chronic depression, as well as dysthymia. In addition, only a minority
of studies reported follow-up data.