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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