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A randomized controlled trial of fluoxetine and cognitive behavioral therapy in adolescents with major depression, behavior problems, and substance use disorders.

Riggs PD, Mikulich-Gilbertson SK, Davies RD, Lohman M, Klein C, Stover SK
Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of fluoxetine hydrochloride vs placebo on major depressive disorder, substance use disorder (SUD), and conduct disorder (CD) in adolescents receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for SUD. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. SETTING: A single-site study conducted between May 2001 and August 2004. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-six adolescents aged 13 to 19 years recruited from the community and meeting Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) diagnostic criteria for current major depressive disorder, lifetime CD, and at least 1 nontobacco SUD. INTERVENTIONS: Sixteen weeks of fluoxetine hydrochloride, 20 mg/d, or placebo, with CBT. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: For depression, Childhood Depression Rating Scale-Revised and Clinical Global Impression Improvement; for SUD, self-reported nontobacco substance use and urine substance use screen results in the past 30 days; and for CD, self-reported symptoms in the past 30 days. RESULTS: Fluoxetine combined with CBT had greater efficacy than did placebo and CBT according to changes on the Childhood Depression Rating Scale-Revised (effect size, 0.78) but not on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement treatment response (76% and 67%, respectively; relative risk, 1.08). There was an overall decrease in self-reported substance use (4.31 days; 95% confidence interval, 2.12-6.50) and CD symptoms (relative risk, 1.20; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.59), but neither difference between groups was statistically significant. The proportion of substance-free weekly urine screen results was higher in the placebo-CBT group than in the fluoxetine-CBT group (mean difference, 2.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.37-4.15). CONCLUSIONS: Fluoxetine and CBT had greater efficacy than did placebo and CBT on one but not both depression measures and was not associated with greater decline in self-reported substance use or CD symptoms. The CBT may have contributed to higher-than-expected treatment response and mixed efficacy findings, despite its focus on SUD.

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