The aim of this review is to establish the effectiveness of psychological relapse prevention interventions, as stand-alone interventions and in combination with maintenance antide pressant treatment (M-ADM) or antidepressant medication (ADM) discontinuation for patients with remitted anxiety disorders or major depressive disorders (MDD).
A systematic review and a meta-analysis were conducted. A literature search was con ducted in PubMed, PsycINFO and Embase for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) compar ing psychological relapse prevention interventions to treatment as usual (TAU), with the proportion of relapse/recurrence and/or time to relapse/recurrence as outcome measure.
Thirty-six RCTs were included. During a 24-month period, psychological interventions signif icantly reduced risk of relapse/recurrence for patients with remitted MDD (RR 0.76, 95% CI:
0.68–0.86, p<0.001). This effect persisted with longer follow-up periods, although these results were less robust. Also, psychological interventions combined with M-ADM signifi cantly reduced relapse during a 24-month period (RR 0.76, 95% CI: 0.62–0.94, p = 0.010), but this effect was not significant for longer follow-up periods. No meta-analysis could be performed on relapse prevention in anxiety disorders, as only two studies focused on relapse prevention in anxiety disorders.
In patients with remitted MDD, psychological relapse prevention interventions substantially reduce risk of relapse/recurrence. It is recommended to offer these interventions to remitted
MDD patients. Studies on anxiety disorders are needed.