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Cognitive behaviour therapy and medication in the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder

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O'Connor KP, Aardema F, Robillard S, Guay S, Pélissier M-C, Todorov C, Borgeat F, Leblanc V, Grenier S, Doucet P. Cognitive behaviour therapy and medication in the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder. Objective: 

To compare cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with CBT plus medication; medication alone; and placebo in the treatment of adult obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Method: 

Forty-eight participants (43 completers) were recruited into two protocols. In the first protocol, 21 people with OCD were randomly allocated to either a standard medication (fluvoxamine) or standard placebo condition for a 5-month period. Both these groups subsequently received CBT for a further 5 months. In the second protocol, 22 people with OCD received CBT, one group was already stabilized on an antidepressant of choice; the second group was drug naïve. Results: 

All active treatments, but not the placebo, showed clinical improvement. There was no difference in treatment response to CBT regardless of whether participants had previously received medication or placebo. Conclusion: 

CBT has a more specific antiobsessional effect than medication but CBT plus medication shows greatest overall clinical improvement in mood.

Keywords: anxiety; cognitive behaviour; cognitive therapy; depression; drug therapy; obsessive behaviour

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Fernand-Seguin Research Centre, Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada 2: Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 2006


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