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Brief behavioral treatment for insomnia in older adults with late-life treatment-resistant depression and insomnia: a pilot study.

Gebara MA, DiNapoli EA, Lederer LG, Bramoweth AD, Germain A, Kasckow JW, Karp JF. Brief behavioral treatment for insomnia in older adults with late-life treatment-resistant depression and insomnia: a pilot study. Sleep and biological rhythms. 2019 Jul 1; 17(3):287-295.

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OBJECTIVE: Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (BBTI) is an efficacious treatment of insomnia in older adults. Behavioral treatments for insomnia can also improve depression. However, it is unknown if BBTI is feasible or has an effect in patients with insomnia and late-life treatment resistant depression (LLTRD). The aims of this study were two-fold, to test: 1) the feasibility (defined by acceptability and retention rates) of BBTI and 2) the therapeutic potency of BBTI on symptoms of insomnia and depression. METHODS: Eleven older Veterans with LLTRD and insomnia were recruited in a randomized control trial to receive immediate (4-weeks of BBTI followed by 3-weeks of phone call check-ins and a final in-person 8-week assessment) or delayed (3-weeks of treatment as usual [wait-list control] followed by 4-weeks of BBTI and a final in-person 8-week assessment) BBTI. The primary outcome measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire (minus the sleep item) and the Insomnia Severity Index. RESULTS: BBTI was found to be feasible in older Veterans with insomnia and LLTRD; all participants recommended BBTI and retention rates were 90.9%. There was no difference in treatment effect between the immediate BBTI and delayed BBTI groups at week 4. After both groups (immediate and delayed) received BBTI, improvements were seen in both insomnia ( = 1.06) and depression ( = 0.54) scores. CONCLUSIONS: BBTI is a feasible treatment for insomnia in older adults with LLTRD. BBTI may be an effective adjunctive treatment for depression. Larger adequately-powered trials are required to confirm these preliminary findings.

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