Health Watch - Depression: Teens and Trials

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about research into treating depression. When researchers evaluate various therapies, it’s important to have a control group that doesn’t receive medication so researchers know for sure that the medicine is responsible for any changes. But that means that one group of patients doesn’t get the treatment, and that raises ethical dilemmas when teens are involved.

Dr. Betsy Kennard, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says a recent study found that teens who initially received a placebo instead of medication, along with counseling and cognitive therapy, did just as well in the long term after starting drug treatment as teens who were on drug treatment from the start. Patients in the placebo group who don’t improve are given the option to begin taking the medication later in the study. This shows that teens aren’t being harmed by participating in studies to evaluation depression treatments.

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UT Southwestern’s clinical services in mental health.


July 2009

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