The new clinical practice guidelines for physicians advises that second generation antidepressants, also called SGAs, and cognitive behavioral therapy can both be equally effective when used for depression treatment in cases of adults who have major depressive disorder.. This recommendation from the American College of Physicians can be found in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Wayne J. Riley, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., M.A.C.P., the President of the American College of Physicians, stated “Patients are frequently treated for depression by primary care physicians, who often initially prescribe SGAs. However, CBT is a reasonable approach for initial treatment and should be strongly considered as an alternative treatment to SGAs where available, and after discussing treatment effects, adverse effect profiles, costs, accessibility, and preferences with patients.” Those who suffer from major depression have extreme sadness that interferes with daily activities, and this sadness is not caused by an extreme loss or a change in life like being laid off or fired.
The new guidelines on cognitive behavioral therapy as a depression treatment may change how this form of mental illness is treated initially. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, does not have the side effects that may be associated with SGAs, although these newer antidepressants have fewer side effects than the older first generation antidepressant drugs do. The researchers noted that there was moderate quality evidence to show that CBT and SGAs were both similarly effective for major depressive disorder in adults. Both methods of treatment also saw similar discontinuation rates as well. This study may help change MDD treatment for some primary care physicians, causing the to offer CBT as a depression treatment alternative to SGAs or providing both types of treatment in combination.