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Depressed inpatients: treatment with psychotherapy plus pharmacotherapy superior to standard treatment

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Dr Schramm

Correspondence to: Dr Schramm, University Medical Center Freiburg, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hauptstrasse 5, 79104 Freiburg, Germany;



Is psychotherapy better than usual clinical management for inpatients with depression who are also being treated with pharmacotherapy?


130 people aged 18–65 years old with DSM-IV major depressive disorder referred for psychiatric hospitalisation, who had a score of ⩾16 on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D). Exclusion criteria: bipolar I disorder, substance abuse or dependency, other primary axis I disorders, organic mental disorder, psychotic symptoms, severe cognitive impairment, active suicide ideation.


Acute psychiatric hospital; enrolment November 2000 to August 2003.


Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) or clinical management (usual care). IPT had been adapted for an inpatient setting and included 15 individual sessions (each about 50 minutes three times weekly over 5 weeks), 8 IPT group sessions, some of which included significant others in some of the sessions. Clinical management was defined as “psychoeducative, supportive and empathic” and involved three weekly sessions of …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

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