SparkRx has been studied in a nationwide, randomized controlled trial (NCT04524598). The results showed clinically meaningful ¹⁻² reductions in depressive symptoms.
Participants who received SparkRx (n = 63) showed a clinically meaningful reduction in depression symptoms. At the end of the study, 24% of SparkRx participants had a treatment response and 17% were in remission. The intention-to-treat analysis comparing Spark to Control was not significant.
For participants that consistently engaged with their assigned program (n = 83), SparkRx led to a statistically significant reduction in depression symptoms compared to Control (p = 0.023) and a 21% remission rate compared to a 4% remission rate for Control at the end of treatment. Treatment response rates were 29% and 16%, respectively, for SparkRx and Control.
SparkRx is available now under the FDA’s policy to treat psychiatric disorders during COVID-19. Providers interested in offering SparkRx to their patients can visit the SparkRx website to register and view important safety information. Teens and young adults can also visit the website to learn more about how to get access to SparkRx.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of depression in children and adolescents, and is recommended as a first-line treatment for depression by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Because certain neural systems in the brains of adolescents are still developing, teenagers demonstrate more reward-seeking behaviors than adults and have a greater tendency to engage in harmful and avoidant behaviors during depressive episodes.
Reinforcing healthy behaviors and social engagement may be particularly helpful for treating depression in adolescents. A focus on psychoeducation and encouraging and reinforcing positive behavior may also be appealing to teenagers who struggle with the corrective approach that supports some traditional therapy models.
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2. Donkin, L., et al. Rethinking the dose-response relationship between usage and outcome in an online intervention for depression: randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res, 15, e231. 10.2196/jmir.2771 (2013).
McCauley, E., Gudmundsen, G., Schloredt, K., Martell, C., Rhew, I., Hubley, S., & Dimidjian, S. (2015). The Adolescent Behavioral Activation Program: Adapting Behavioral Activation as a Treatment for Depression in Adolescence. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 45(3), 291–304. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2014.979933
McCauley, E., Schloredt, K. A., Gudmundsen, G. R., Martell, C. R., & Dimidjian, S. (2016). Behavioral Activation with Adolescents: A Clinician’s Guide (Illustrated ed.). The Guilford Press.
Pass, L., Hodgson, E., Whitney, H., & Reynolds, S. (2018). Brief Behavioral Activation Treatment for Depressed Adolescents Delivered by Nonspecialist Clinicians: A Case Illustration. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 25(2), 208–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpra.2017.05.003
Pass, L., Lejuez, C. W., & Reynolds, S. (2017). Brief Behavioural Activation (Brief BA) for Adolescent Depression: A Pilot Study. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 46(2), 182–194. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1352465817000443