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J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;65(3):421-5.

Randomized clinical trial of bright light therapy for antepartum depression: preliminary findings.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, University Towers Suite 2H, 100 York Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. neill.epperson@yale.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Bright light therapy was shown to be a promising treatment for depression during pregnancy in a recent open-label study. In an extension of this work, we report findings from a double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study.

METHOD:

Ten pregnant women with DSM-IV major depressive disorder were randomly assigned from April 2000 to January 2002 to a 5-week clinical trial with either a 7000 lux (active) or 500 lux (placebo) light box. At the end of the randomized controlled trial, subjects had the option of continuing in a 5-week extension phase. The Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Scale-Seasonal Affective Disorder Version was administered to assess changes in clinical status. Salivary melatonin was used to index circadian rhythm phase for comparison with antidepressant results.

RESULTS:

Although there was a small mean group advantage of active treatment throughout the randomized controlled trial, it was not statistically significant. However, in the longer 10-week trial, the presence of active versus placebo light produced a clear treatment effect (p =.001) with an effect size (0.43) similar to that seen in antidepressant drug trials. Successful treatment with bright light was associated with phase advances of the melatonin rhythm.

CONCLUSION:

These findings provide additional evidence for an active effect of bright light therapy for antepartum depression and underscore the need for an expanded randomized clinical trial.

PMID:
15096083
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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