Effectiveness of treatments for depression in older people

Cathy J. Frazer*, Helen Christensen, Kathleen M. Griffiths

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    96 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To conduct a systematic review of the evidence for the effectiveness of a range of possible-treatments for depression in older people. Data sources: Literature search using the PubMed, PsycInfo and Cochrane Library databases. Data synthesis: Treatments that have been suggested to be effective for depression were grouped under three categories: medical treatments, psychological treatments, and lifestyle changes/alternative treatments. We describe each treatment, review the studies of its effectiveness in people aged ≥ 60 years, and give a rating of the level of evidence. Conclusions: The treatments with the best evidence of effectiveness are antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, reminiscence therapy, problem-solving therapy, bibliotherapy (for mild to moderate depression) and exercise. There is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of transcranial magnetic stimulation, dialectical behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, light therapy (for people in nursing homes or hospitals), St John's wort and folate in reducing depressive symptoms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)627-632
    Number of pages6
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2005


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