Side effects of adjunct light therapy in patients with major depression

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Adjunct bright-light therapy has been suggested to augment antidepressant drug treatment in patients with non-seasonal major depression. Side effects of the combined therapy have not been investigated thus far. Therefore, somatic complaints and side effects of combined therapy were evaluated in 28 patients with major depression (DSM-III-R) randomly assigned to either trimipramine or trimipramine and serially applied adjunct bright-light therapy. Response rates were comparable in both treatment groups and rates of newly emergent side effects during treatment were generally low. The most prominent unfavourable side effects of adjunct bright-light therapy as compared with trimipramine monotherapy were aggravated sedation, persisting restlessness, emerging sleep disturbance and decreased appetite as well as the worsening of vertigo. Discriminant analysis revealed that the combination of trimipramine with bright light results in a different side effect profile compared with drug monotherapy.