Only a minority of dialysis patients with depressive symptoms are diagnosed and receive treatment. Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent in this population and are associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Underlying factors for this undertreatment may be the lack of evidence for the safety and effectivity of antidepressant medication, the reluctance of patients to adhere to antidepressant medication, the lack of mental healthcare provision in somatic healthcare environments and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) related physical limitations that complicate face-to-face psychotherapy. Guided Internet-based self-help treatment has demonstrated to be effective for depressive symptoms in other chronic patient populations and may overcome these barriers. The aim of this study is to investigate the (cost) effectiveness of a guided Internet-based self-help intervention for symptoms of depression in dialysis patients.
This study is a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) that investigates the effectiveness of a 5-week Internet-based self-help Problem Solving Therapy (PST) for depressive symptoms in dialysis patients. Depressive symptoms will be measured using the Beck Depression Inventory – second edition (BDI-II), with a cut-off score of ≥10. We aim to include 206 dialysis patients with depressive symptoms who will be cluster randomized to the intervention or the Care as Usual (CAU) control group. Secondary outcomes will include anxiety symptoms, quality of life, economic costs and clinical outcomes, such as inflammatory factors and hair cortisol levels. Assessments will take place at baseline (T0), 2 weeks after intervention (T1) and 6 months (T2), 12 months (T3) and 18 months (T4) after intervention. The control group will be measured at the same time points. Analysis will be based on the intention-to-treat principle. Mixed models will be used to assess the changes within each condition between pre-treatment and post-treatment.
If demonstrated to be (cost) effective, Internet-based PST will offer new possibilities to treat dialysis patients with depressive symptoms and to improve their quality of care.
Dutch Trial Register: Trial NL6648 (NTR6834) (prospectively registered 13th November 2017).