Thursday, February 05, 2009

Psychotherapies and drugs for depression - which is cheapest?

Experiments and reviews have suggested that evidence-based psychotherapies are at least as effective as drugs in treating depression yet drugs are often used in the belief that they are more cost-effective than psychotherapy. A Romanian study of 170 people suffering from depression divided them up into three groups. One group received rational-emotive behaviour therapy (REBT), another group cognitive therapy (CT) and a third group received fluoxetine (Prozac). Six months after treatment the three treatments had all proved equally effective. The researchers based their calculations of cost-effectiveness on the price per depression-free day and the price per 'quality-adjusted life year.' On the first measure the costs were CT $26.44, REBT $23.77 and fluoxetine $34.93. The costs per QALY were: CBT $1.64, REBT $1.73 and fluoxetine $2.29.

Sava, Florin A. ... [et al] - Cost-effectiveness and cost utility of cognitive therapy, rational-emotive behaviour therapy, and fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating depression: a randomized clinical trial Journal of Clinical Psychology January 2009, 65(1), 36-52

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