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Use of cognitive therapy for relapse prevention in chronic depression - Cost-effectiveness study

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  • J Scott
  • S Palmer
  • E Paykel
  • J Teasdale
  • H Hayhurst


Publication details

JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
DatePublished - Mar 2003
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)221-227
Original languageEnglish


Background There is a lack of data on the cost-effectiveness of relapse prevention in depression.

Method A total of 158 subjects with partially remitted major depression despite adequate clinical treatment were randomly allocated to cognitive therapy in addition to antidepressants and clinical management v. antidepressants and clinical management alone. Relapse rates and health care resource utilisation were measured prospectively over 17 months.

Results Cumulative relapse rates in the cognitive therapy group were significantly lower than in the control group (29% v, 47%). The incremental cost incurred in subjects receiving cognitive therapy over 17 months (pound779; 95% CI pound387- pound1170) was significantly lower than the overall mean costs of cognitive therapy (pound1164; 95% CI pound1084- pound1244). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio ranged from pound4328 to pound15027 per additional relapse prevented.

Conclusions In individuals with depressive symptoms that are resistant to standard treatment, adjunctive cognitive therapy is more costly but more effective than intensive clinical treatment alone.

Declaration of interest This research was supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council.

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