Report of Chronotherapeutics

The ISAD Committee on Chronotherapeutics Report - Summary

The Committee on Chronotherapeutics, delegated by the International Society for Affective Disorders (ISAD), makes the following recommendations after reviewing the evidence as of November 2004.

Wake therapy is the most rapid antidepressant available today: approximately 60% of patients, independent of diagnostice subtype, respond with marked improvement within hours. Treatment can be a single or repeated sleep deprivation, total (all night) or partial (second half of night) Relapse can be prevented by daily light therapy, concomitant administration of SSRI's, lithium (for bipolar patients), or a short phase advance of sleep over 3 days following a single night of wake therapy. Combinations of these interventions show great promise.

Light therapy is effective for major depression - not only for the seasonal subtype. As an adjuvant to conventional antidepressants in unipolar patients, or lithium in bipolar patients, morning light therapy shows benefit even for patients with chronic depression of 2 years or more, out performing their weak response to drugs. This method provides a viable alternative for patients who refuse, resist or cannot tolerate medication, or for whom drugs may be contraindicated, as in antepartum depression.

Given the urgent need for new strategies to treat patients wiht residual depressive symptoms, clinical trials of wake therapy and/or adjuvant light therapy, coupled with follow-up studies of long-term recurrence, are a high priority.

The complete report as published as an Editorial in Psychological Medicine in June 2005 can now be seen

Full Report