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Depression in Later Life Intervention is Effective

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Nov 7; Dias, et al

The depression in later life (DIL) intervention is effective for preventing episodes of major depression in older persons with sub-syndromal symptoms, according to a recent study. This parallel-group randomized clinical trial with masked outcome assessment was performed in 181 older adults (mean [SD] age, 69.6 [7.2] years; 114 [63.0%] female: 91 to the intervention arm DIL intervention and 90 to care as usual [CAU]) with sub-syndromal depressive symptoms at rural and urban primary care clinics. The first participant entered the trial on March 31, 2015, and the last exited on June 2, 2017. Data analysis used the intention-to-treat approach. Researchers found:

  • Incident episodes of major depression were lower in the DIL intervention than in the
  • CAU group (4.40% vs 14.44%; number needed to treat, 9.95).
  • The 12-month Kaplan-Meier estimates of percentage of depression-free participants
  • were 95.1% in the DIL group vs 87.4% in the CAU group.
  • The incidence of depressive symptoms was also less.
  • There were no changes in measures of disability or cognition.
  • The DIL intervention was associated with a significantly greater lowering of systolic blood pressure and change in body mass index.

Dias A, Azariah F, Anderson SJ, et al. Effect of a lay counselor intervention on prevention

of major depression in older adults living in low- and middle-income countries. A randomized clinical trial. [Published online ahead of print November 7, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.3048.