New meta-review of computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) packages for depression

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Researchers from Nottingham University have published a meta-review that aims to evaluate the quality of existing reviews and to enable reliable comparisons of alternative computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) packages for treating mild to moderate depression with or without anxiety.

The reviewers conducted a systematic search and found 12 systematic reviews from 10 studies covering depression, published between 1999 and February 2011. They appraised this evidence and presented selected findings.

They found limited evidence that indicated the following cCBT packages are effective in treating depression:

They did not find enough evidence to support the use of these cCBT packages:

  • ODIN
  • Overcoming Depression

They also highlighted two studies due to be published in the near future, which will hopefully provide more evidence to help inform this debate:

  • The Randomised Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Acceptability of Computerised Therapy (REEACT) Trial is due to end in 2013 (ISRCTN 91947481)
  • Computerised CBT for Common Mental Disorders: RCT of a Workplace Intervention (ISRCTN 24529487) concludes in August, 2011.

The authors concluded:

The meta-review supports the efficacy of cCBT for treatment of depression; however there is limited information on different approaches, whose relative cost-effectiveness remains to be demonstrated. Suggestions are made for future studies in the field.

Sarrami Foroushani P, Schneider J, Assareh N. Meta-review of the effectiveness of Computerised CBT in treating depression (PDF). BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Aug 12;11(1):131. [Epub ahead of print]

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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