Two versions can significantly reduce depressive symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis
A multiple sclerosis (MS)-specific internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program can reduce depressive symptoms among patients with MS, according to a study published in the October issue of The Lancet Digital Health.
Stefan M. Gold, Ph.D., from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of an iCBT program to reduce depressive symptoms in patients with MS at five academic centers. Patients with a neurologist-confirmed diagnosis of MS and depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to treatment as usual plus one of two versions of the iCBT program Amiria (standalone or therapist-guided) or to a control condition in which participants were offered access to iCBT after six months. Of the participants, 101, 85, and 93 were allocated to receive standalone iCBT, guided iCBT, and the control condition, respectively.
The researchers found that compared with the control group, both versions of the iCBT program significantly reduced depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II between-group mean differences: 6.32 points for control versus standalone and 5.80 points for control versus guided iCBT). Three participants in the control group, one in the standalone iCBT group, and none in the guided iCBT group experienced clinically relevant worsening of depressive symptoms. There were no occurrences of suicidality reported during the trial, nor any deaths.
“This remote-access, scalable intervention increases the therapeutic options in this patient group and could help to overcome treatment barriers,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed ties to industry.