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Cognitive behavioral therapy versus paroxetine in the treatment of hypochondriasis: an 18-month naturalistic follow-up.

Author(s): Greeven A, van Balkom AJ, van der Leeden R, Merkelbach JW, van den Heuvel OA, Spinhoven P

Affiliation(s): Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Clinical, Health and Neuropsychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands. greeven@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

Publication date & source: 2009-09, J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry., 40(3):487-96. Epub 2009 Jun 28.

Publication type: Comparative Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: The present maintenance study investigated whether the reduction in hypochondriacal complaints after initial treatment with CBT or paroxetine sustained during a follow-up period and whether psychiatric severity at pretest predicted the course of hypochondriacal symptoms. METHOD: A naturalistic follow-up period of 18 months after a 16-week RCT consisting of 33 patients initially allocated to a CBT condition and 29 patients to a paroxetine condition. The main outcome measure was the Whiteley Index. RESULTS: The initial treatment effect of CBT and paroxetine sustained during the follow-up period. No significant differences between CBT and paroxetine were found. Treatment course could not be predicted by psychiatric comorbidity. CONCLUSION: CBT and paroxetine are both effective treatments for hypochondriasis in the long term.

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