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Impact of concurrent naturalistic pharmacotherapy on psychotherapy of complicated grief.

  • Author(s): Simon, Naomi M
  • Shear, M Katherine
  • Fagiolini, Andrea
  • Frank, Ellen
  • Zalta, Alyson
  • Thompson, Elizabeth H
  • Reynolds, Charles F
  • Silowash, Russell
  • et al.

Complicated grief (CG) is a debilitating syndrome that can be reliably identified, but there is a paucity of research examining treatment of CG. A targeted psychotherapy for complicated grief (CGT) was recently shown to be efficacious [Shear, K., Frank, E., Houck, P.R., Reynolds, C.F., 3rd, 2005. Treatment of complicated grief: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 293, 2601-2608]. We provide a detailed examination of the association of naturalistic pharmacotherapy use with treatment response and study completion in the psychotherapy study. Patients on an antidepressant medication were more likely to complete a full course of CGT (91% vs. 58% completed), while antidepressant use had no effect on completion rates for the comparator, interpersonal psychotherapy (70% vs. 77%). Our naturalistic data underscore the need for prospective, randomized controlled studies of CG pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy alone and in combination.

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