BACKGROUND: Depression is common in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Home-based cardiac rehabilitation (HBCR) is a program that alleviates depression. This study aimed to determine and compare HBCR programs and usual care (UC) effects on depression control in patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD).METHODS: This clinical trial study was performed on 259 patients with IHD that were randomly allocated to the HBCR and UC groups for stress management. Data were collected using the "Beck Depression Inventory" (BDI) at baseline and 6 and 12 months. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were applied to examine the associations between times of the groups and changes in outcomes over the study times. Data analysis was done in SPSS softwareat the significance level of 0.05.RESULTS: A total of 247 participants with a mean age of 55.22 ± 7.40 years participated in this study, and 209 (84.6%) of the study participants were men. Among patients, 128 patients in the UC program and 119 patients in the HBCR program attended at least one of the pre-determined visits (months 6 and 12). The patterns of change of the depression parameter were similar through the course of the study between the two groups (P = 0.04). In the HBCR group, the depression reduced continuously from baseline to 6 months, baseline to 12 months, and 6 to 12 months (P < 0.05). In the UC group, depression was significantly reduced from baseline to 6 months and from baseline to 12 months.CONCLUSION: HBCR was effective in continuous reducing of depression scores in long-term follow-up of patients with IHD. These findings suggest that HBCR can alleviate depression in patients who do not participate in hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR).