February 20, 2007

Psychiatric Meds, Adverse Effects and Psychotherapy

The excellent blog titled "Corpus Callosum" written by a psychiatrist, reports on a study showing that psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT) can reduce the adverse side-effects of psychiatric drugs (this study focuses on psychotherapy in panic disorder, but other research suggests CBT is valuable in schizophrenia also and it seems now that research needs to be done on CBT and adverse affects of antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia). Corpus Collosum notes:

This is a nice little study that deserves a brief comment. It's from the American Journal of Psychiatry this month. What is shows is that participation in psychotherapy can alter the rate of reported adverse effects from medication, and decrease the rate at which patients stop their medication because of adverse effects.

A Comparison of Medication Side Effect Reports by Panic Disorder Patients With and Without Concomitant Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Sue M. Marcus, Ph.D., et. al.
Am J Psychiatry 164:273-275, February 2007

OBJECTIVE: The authors assessed whether adding cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to imipramine for patients with panic disorder decreased the severity of side effects and dropouts from side effects. METHOD: Data were analyzed for 172 panic disorder patients who were randomly assigned to receive imipramine alone, imipramine plus CBT, or placebo. Mixed-effects models were used to assess longitudinal differences among the treatment groups with respect to side effect burden and dropout rates during the acute, maintenance, and follow-up phases of treatment.

RESULTS: Patients treated with imipramine plus CBT experienced less severe fatigue/weakness, dry mouth, and sweating and had a lower rate of dropout due to side effects compared with those treated with imipramine only.

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of CBT to medication treatment with imipramine was associated with less severe side effects and fewer dropouts due to perceived side effects than treatment with imipramine alone.

Read the full blog entry: Adverse Effects and Psychotherapy

Related Reading: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Schizophrenia - An Indepth Interview with Experts


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