Psychological Medicine

Original Article

The lack of sustained effect of bright light in non-seasonal major depression

a1 Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital, Hilleroed, Denmark
a2 Psychiatric Specialist Practice, Falkoner Allé, Copenhagen, Denmark
a3 Psychiatric Department, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej, Copenhagen, Denmark

Article author query
martiny k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lunde m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
unden m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dam h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bech p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Background. Recently accumulated evidence has demonstrated that bright-light therapy in combination with antidepressants is effective in patients with non-seasonal major depression. Whether bright light has a sustained effect after discontinuation is, however, poorly investigated.

Method. In this double-blind randomized study we report the results from a 4-week follow-up period in patients with major non-seasonal depression who had been treated for 5 weeks with sertraline combined with bright-light therapy or sertraline combined with dim-light therapy. At the beginning of the follow-up period the light therapy was stopped while sertraline treatment continued for 4 weeks.

Results. Depression scores decreased substantially in both groups, resulting in high response and remission rates in both groups after 9 weeks of treatment. The difference in depression scores at week 5, favouring the bright-light-treated group, disappeared gradually in the 4-week follow-up period, resulting in similar end-point scores.

Conclusions. Bright light did not have a sustained effect after discontinuation. The offset of effect was complete after 4 weeks.

(Published Online June 7 2006)

c1 Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital, Dyrehavevej 48, DK-3400 Hillerød, Denmark. (Email: