Pilot trial of light therapy for depression in hospitalized patients with cystic fibrosis

Benjamin T. Kopp, Don Hayes, Princy Ghera, Alpa Patel, Stephen Kirkby, Robert A. Kowatch, Mark Splaingard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background Depression is common in cystic fibrosis (CF) and linked with worse outcomes during hospitalization. Bright-light therapy during hospitalizations augments antidepressant regimens and reduces length of stay (LOS) in depressed non-CF patients, but has not been examined in CF Methods Thirty subjects used a light box emitting 10,000 lx for 30 min each day for 7 straight days following hospital admission for pulmonary exacerbation. Depressive symptom severity (QIDS-C) and quality of life factors (CFQ-R) were recorded pre/post light therapy. Results Eighty percent of subjects had at least mild depressive symptoms upon admission. Hospitalized CF patients had a significantly lower mean LOS of 11.0±3.6 days compared to a historical cohort from the year prior (13.3±4.4 days, p value=0.038). There was a significant decrease in depressive symptoms for all subjects receiving light therapy (p value<0.0001). There was no relation between depressive symptoms and lung function or vitamin D. Six out of twelve quality of life indicators improved with light therapy including the domains of vitality, emotion, and health perceptions. There were no adverse events reported. Limitations As a pilot study, the design was limited by a lack of a control group and possible confounding effects of hospitalization treatment on systemic symptoms. Conclusions Light therapy was well tolerated by hospitalized CF patients and resulted in improved depressive symptoms and quality of life. Light therapy was associated with a reduced length of stay. Large, randomized trials of light therapy may be indicated for hospitalized CF patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7668
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Length of stay
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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