The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Mindfulness, as good as antidepressants for depression

    That’s the conclusion from this study at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, in Ontario.

    First, the details.

    • 160 adults patients with major depressive disorder and a minimum of 2 past episodes were included in the study.
    • Of these, 84 achieved remission and were assigned to 1 of the 3 treatment groups.
      • Discontinued their antidepressants and attended 8 weekly group sessions of Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
      • Continued their therapeutic dose of antidepressant medication
      • Discontinued active medication and were switched to placebo
    • Relapse was defined as a return, for at least 2 weeks, of symptoms sufficient to meet the criteria for major depression on module A of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.

    And, the results.

    • There was no significant difference in relapse rates: 38% for MBCT, 46% for antidepressant maintenance, 60% for placebo.
    • MBCT and antidepressant maintenance significantly reduced the risk for relapse in unstable remitters (ie, responders to treatment) compared to placebo.
    • For stable remitters, there was no significant difference in relapse rates between the 3 groups: 62% for MBCT, 59% for antidepressant maintenance, and 50% for placebo

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “For those unwilling or unable to tolerate maintenance antidepressant treatment, MBCT offers equal protection from relapse during an 18-month period.”

    The authors recommend to continue at least 1 long-term active treatment (MBCT or antidepressants) in unstable remitters.

    Background on mindfulness is here.

    12/10/10 21:20 JR

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