Research compared physical exercise and antidepressant treatment for depression among the elderly

A group of researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of physical exercise and antidepressant treatment for depressive disorders among the elderly.

In Annals of Family Medicine, researchers recruited 347 participants aged 65 and older, with a clinical history of major depressive episodes.

“We sought to compare the effectiveness of physical exercise with that of treatment with antidepressant drugs routinely used in clinical practice, in terms of decreasing depressive symptomatology in patients aged ≥65 years who present with clinical criteria of a depressive episode,” co-author Jesus Hidalgo and his colleagues wrote in their findings.

“We conducted a randomized clinical trial in a primary care setting. A total of 347 patients aged ≥65 years with a clinically significant depressive episode were randomized to participation in a supervised physical exercise program or to receive antidepressant treatment by their general practitioners.”

According to researchers, both antidepressant treatment and physical exercise are capable of decreasing depressive symptomology among the elderly. However, antidepressant treatment was still regarded as the most superior of the two interventions.

“Although improvement was initially similar in both treatment groups, AT was superior in the medium term, despite giving rise to a greater number of adverse effects,” researchers concluded.

Image courtesy of Ljupco Smokovski - stock.adobe.com
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