Bright light augments antidepressant effects of medication and wake therapy

Richard T Loving, Daniel F Kripke, Stephen R Shuchter
Depression and Anxiety 2002, 16 (1): 1-3
Inpatient studies have suggested that bright light therapy can be used to sustain the antidepressant effects of wake therapy (sleep deprivation). In an outpatient trial, a half night of home wake treatment was followed by 1 week of light treatment. All subjects had Major Depressive Disorders according to DSM-IV criteria and were receiving concomitant antidepressant medication. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 10,000 lux bright white light for 30 min between 6 and 9 AM or dim red (placebo) light at a comparable time. Seven subjects completed treatment with bright white light and six completed treatment with placebo. On the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS17, SIGH-SAD-SR version), the group receiving bright light improved 27% in 1 week (P=0.002). The group receiving placebo did not improve, except for one outlier. The benefit of bright light was significant compared to placebo with removal of the outlier (P<0.025).

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