New publication: Implementation of ICBT for OCD in UK’s IAPT system

Another new publication by Oskar Flygare et al!

Implementing therapist-guided internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy for obsessive–compulsive disorder in the UK’s IAPT programme: A pilot trial

Digital therapies such as internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) can improve treatment access for patients with common mental disorders, but are rarely used in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in the United Kingdom. The objective of this study was to evaluate an evidence-based ICBT intervention for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD-NET) in three IAPT services in an open trial.

Consecutively referred patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (= 474) were offered OCD-NET. Symptoms of OCD, depression, anxiety, and level of functioning were measured weekly throughout treatment.

In the full intention to treat sample (= 474), the intervention was associated with large reductions in self-reported OCD symptoms (d = 1.77), anxiety (d = 1.55) and depression (d = 0.8), as well as improvements in functional impairment (d = 0.51 to 0.72). Further, 35% of participants were in recovery at their last assessment, 25% achieved reliable improvement and 15% met criteria for both recovery and improvement. Among participants completing at least 4 modules (= 261), corresponding to an adequate ‘dose’ of treatment, the rates of recovery (44%), reliable improvement (34%) and reliable recovery (21%) were higher. A majority of participants were satisfied with the online treatment and found the online materials helpful.

OCD-NET is an effective treatment when delivered in regular care within the IAPT system. Challenges associated with implementing ICBT in regular health care are discussed.

Rates of recovery, reliable change, and reliable recovery using the first and last assessments on the OCI-R and PHQ-9

Internet CBT vs face-to-face CBT for OCD

New publication by research group members Lina Lundström and Oskar Flygare!

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a highly specialized treatment that is in short supply worldwide. This study aimed to investigate whether therapist-guided internet-delivered CBT (ICBT) is non-inferior to face-to-face CBT for adults with OCD. Secondary objectives were to investigate if ICBT could be equally effective without therapist support (i.e. unguided), to conduct a health-economic evaluation, and to determine whether treatment effects were moderated by source of participant referral.

A consecutive sample of 120 adults with a primary diagnosis of OCD, either self-referred or referred by a clinician, were randomized to receive guided ICBT (n=42), unguided ICBT (n=40) or face-to-face CBT (n= 38) delivered over 14 weeks. The main outcome measure was change in OCD symptom severity according to the clinician rated Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) from baseline to 3-month follow-up (primary endpoint). The non-inferiority margin was set to 3 points on the Y-BOCS. 

Results: Of the 120 randomized participants, 80 (67%) were women with a mean age of 32 (SD = 9.64) years.The mean difference between therapist-guided ICBT and face-to-face CBT at the primary endpoint was 2.10 points on the Y-BOCS (90% CI -0.41 to 4.61), P = .17, favoring face-to-face CBT, meaning that the primary non-inferiority results were inconclusive. The difference between unguided ICBT and face-to-face CBT was 5.35 points (90% CI 2.76 to 7.94), P < .001), favoring face-to-face CBT. The health economic analysis showed that both guided and unguided ICBT were cost-effective compared to face-to-face CBT. Source of referral did not moderate treatment outcome. The most common adverse events were anxiety (25%), depressive symptoms (17%) and stress (9%).  

Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized controlled trial of internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder we could not conclusively demonstrate non-inferiority. Therapist-guided ICBT could be a cost-effective alternative to in-clinic CBT for adults with OCD in scenarios where traditional CBT is not readily available. Unguided ICBT is probably less efficacious but could be an alternative when providing remote clinician support is not feasible.

Read the article here.