This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I'm Dr. Peter Yellowlees. Cancer patients are at increased risk for depression, but there is little consensus on the best way of treating them. Now a team of investigators from University of California-Los Angeles have conducted a meta-analysis to examine the efficacy of psychotherapeutic and pharmacologic interventions for depression in patients with cancer. Ten randomized controlled trials (6 psychotherapeutic and 4 pharmacologic) with 1362 patients with mixed cancer types and stages were included in the analysis. The researchers found that both types of interventions were superior to control conditions in reducing depressive symptoms. In the 4 psychotherapeutic trials, interventions were more effective than control conditions for up to 12-18 months, and subgroup analyses showed that cognitive-behavioral therapy appeared more effective than problem-solving therapy but not more effective than pharmacologic intervention. These findings are good news because they suggest that both psychological and pharmacologic approaches can be effective in treating depression in patients with cancer. This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence. I'm Dr. Peter Yellowlees.
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