Telephonic CBT Versus Face-to-Face CBT for Depression

Michele Reed, PharmD
Published Online: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
A randomized, controlled trial of primary care patients with major depressive disorder (n=325) evaluated the effect of telephone-administered cognitive behavioral therapy (T-CBT) compared with face-to-face CBT in the treatment of depression.1 Study subjects were randomized to receive 18 sessions of T-CBT or face-to-face CBT. The primary end point of the study was attrition (completion vs noncompletion) at post-treatment (week 18).

The study demonstrated that both treatments significantly improved patient depression (P <.001). Additionally, significantly fewer participants discontinued T-CBT (n = 34; 20.9%) compared with face-to-face CBT (n = 53; 32.7%; P = .02).

Results also showed that participants receiving face-to-face CBT were significantly less depressed than those receiving T-CBT on the Ham-D (difference, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.20-4.63; P <.001) and the PHQ-9 (difference, 2.12; 95% CI, 0.68-3.56; P = .004).

The investigators concluded that T-CBT improves adherence com- pared with face-to-face delivery; however, the benefit of treatment may diminish after treatment cessation.

Dr. Reed received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently works as a medical editor in the greater Philadelphia area.

1. Mohr DC, Ho J, Duffecy J, et al. Effect of telephone-administered vs face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy on adherence to therapy and depression outcomes among primary care patients: a randomized trial. JAMA. 2012;307(21):2278-2285.

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