Prevention of late-life anxiety and depression has sustained effects over 24 months: a pragmatic randomized trial

Departments of Psychiatry, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The American journal of geriatric psychiatry: official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 4.24). 03/2011; 19(3):230-9.
Source: PubMed


Depressive and anxiety disorders in later life have a high incidence and are associated with reduced quality of life. Elsewhere, we demonstrated that a stepped-care prevention approach was successful in halving the incidence of these disorders over a period of 12 months. As a decreasing effect over time is to be expected, our aim was to investigate the longer-term effects.
Randomized controlled trial.
Thirty-three primary care practices in the Netherlands.
One hundred seventy consenting individuals, age 75 years and older, presenting with subthreshold depression or anxiety, not meeting the diagnostic criteria.
Participants were randomized to a preventive intervention or usual care. In the first 12 months, the preventive intervention entailed watchful waiting, minimally supported CBT-based self-help intervention, problem-solving treatment, and referral to a primary care physician for medication, if required. In the last 12 months, 95% of the participants ceased to receive such support.
Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.
The cumulative incidence rate of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, major depression or anxiety disorder over a period of 24 months was halved by the intervention, from 33 of 84 (39.3%) in the usual care group to 17 of 86 (19.8%) in the intervention group (odds ratio = 0.38; 95% confidence interval = 0.19–0.76), which was significant (z = 2.75; p = 0.006). The corresponding number needed to treat was 5 (95% confidence interval = 3–16).
A stepped-care approach to the prevention of depression and anxiety in late life was not only successful in halving the incidence of depressive and anxiety disorders after 1 year, but these favorable effects were also sustained over 24 months.

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Available from: Harm Van Marwijk, Jun 19, 2014
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