Addition of Sleep deprivation to treatment of depression may not enhance outcomes

The addition of sleep deprivation to treatment packages
leads to enhanced depressive outcomes suggests a recent study published in the Sleep
Medicine Reviews

Sleep deprivation, alone or in combination with
pharmacological treatment and as part of a chronotherapy package, is of
potential use for people with major depressive episodes, however the evidence
base is still conflicting. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis
is to assess the clinical effects of sleep deprivation in comparison to any
other intervention for the acute and long-term treatment of mood disorders.

They searched electronic databases and trial registries
(last update: 16th October 2021) for published and unpublished randomised
controlled trials recruiting participants with a major depressive episode in
unipolar or bipolar affective disorder.

The clinical outcomes of interest were the reduction in
depressive symptoms at different timepoints and the number of participants
experiencing at least one side effect.

The results were:

Overall, 29 trials (1246 participants) were included. They
did not find any difference in change in symptoms or all-cause discontinuation
between interventions including SD compared to a control of the same
intervention except without SD. In the included studies there were no available
data for adverse events.

Thus, using the most methodologically rigorous approach, we
did not find evidence that the addition of sleep deprivation to treatment
packages leads to enhanced depressive outcomes.


Pamina Mitter, Franco De Crescenzo, Kimberley Loo Yong Kee,
Jun Xia, Samantha Roberts, Wenjie Chi, Ayse Kurtulmus, Simon D. Kyle, John R.
Geddes, Andrea Cipriani. Sleep deprivation as a treatment for major depressive
episodes: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Sleep Medicine Reviews, Volume
64, 2022, 101647, ISSN 1087-0792,

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