Maintenance interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) can prevent recurrence of depression for many women with chronic depression. The therapy, delivered at monthly intervals, focuses on relationships and interpersonal events that tend to trigger depression.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that once-per-month maintenance IPT was effective in preventing recurrence of depression in women who manage their depression using cognitve behavioral therapy.

In fact, women who received prophylactic IPT once a month were no more likely to have a recurrence of their depression than those who received IPT two or four times a month.

Maintenance IPT was found to be less effective for preventing recurrence in women who achieved remission through combination IPT and antidepressant therapy.

The study is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

“Studies have shown that when a person recovers from depression by using medication, the best way for them to stay well is to continue on the same dosage of medication.

However, many people, especially women of childbearing age or those taking medications for other conditions, may not feel comfortable taking antidepressants for long periods of time,” said Ellen Frank, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“We found that interpersonal psychotherapy is a valid alternative to help women with recurrent depression remain symptom-free, especially women who were able to recover from a depressive episode using therapy alone.”

“Our study indicates, as many prior studies have, that not every person’s depression is the same, nor should each person be treated the same way,” said Dr. Frank.

“Some people respond best to therapy, others to medication and others to a combination of the two. It’s important that clinicians evaluate their patients carefully to determine the best treatment for each individual.”

Source: University of Pittsburgh