The global prevalence of diabetes among adults will be 6.4% in 2010 and will increase to 7.7% by 2030. Diabetes doubles the odds of depression, and 9% of patients with diabetes are affected by depressive disorders. When subclinical depression is included, the proportion of patients who have clinically relevant depressive symptoms increases to 26%. In patients aged over 65 years, the interaction of diabetes and depression has predicted increased mortality, complications, disability, and earlier occurrence of all of these adverse outcomes. These deleterious effects were observed even in minor depression, where the risk of mortality within 7 years was 4.9 times higher compared with diabetes patients who did not have depressive symptoms. In this paper we describe the design and methods of the Minor Depression and Diabetes trial, a clinical trial within the 'Competence Network for Diabetes mellitus', which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Patients' inclusion criteria are: Type 2 diabetes mellitus, 65 to 85 years of age, 3 to 6 depressive symptoms (minor depression or mild major depression). Our aim is to compare the efficacy of diabetes-specific cognitive behavioural therapy adapted for the elderly vs. intensified treatment as usual vs. a guided self-help intervention regarding improvement of health related quality of life as the primary outcome. The trial will be conducted as a multicentre, open, observer-blinded, parallel group (3 groups) randomized controlled trial. Patients will be randomized to one of the three treatment conditions. After 12 weeks of open-label therapy in all treatment conditions, both group interventions will be reduced to one session per month during the one-year long-term phase of the trial. At the one-year follow-up, all groups will be re-examined regarding the primary and secondary parameters, for example reduction of depressive symptoms, prevention of moderate/severe major depression, improvement of glycaemic control, mortality, and cost effectiveness. Depending on additional funding, the sample will be continuously observed as a prospective cohort; the primary outcome will be changed to mortality for all subsequent follow-up measurements.
Current Controlled Trials Register (ISRCTN58007098).