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01.12.2016 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Psychiatry 1/2016

Stability of remission rates in a 3-year follow-up of naturalistic treated depressed inpatients

BMC Psychiatry > Ausgabe 1/2016
Florian Seemüller, Michael Obermeier, Rebecca Schennach, Michael Bauer, Mazda Adli, Peter Brieger, Gerd Laux, Michael Riedel, Peter Falkai, Hans-Jürgen Möller
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

All authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

FS, MO, PF, MR, MB and HJM developed the Idea for this analysis. FS, RS, MA, PB, GL, MR, MB and HJM were involved with data collection. MO completed the data analysis. FS and HJM wrote all drafts of the manuscript, which was commented by all authors. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Remission is a common outcome of short-term trials and the main goal of acute and longterm treatment. The longitudinal stability of remission has rarely been investigated under naturalistic treatment conditions.


Naturalistic multisite follow-up study. Three-year symptomatic long-term outcome of initially hospitalized tertiary care patients (N = 784) with major depressive episodes. Remission rates as well as the switch rates between remission and non-remission were reported.


After one, two and three years 62 %, 59 % and 69 % of the observed patients met criteria for remission. During the follow-up 88 % of all patients achieved remission. 36 % of maintained remission from discharge to 3-years, 12 % of all patients never reached remission and 52 % percent showed a fluctuating course switching from remission to non-remission and vice versa. There was considerable transition between remission and non-remission. For example, from discharge to 1 year, from 1 to 2, and from 2 to 3 years 25 %, 21 % and 11 % lost remission.


Cumulative outcome rates are encouraging. Absolute rates at predefined endpoints as well as the fluctuations between these outcomes reflect the variable and chronic nature of major depression.
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