Video-based treatment with ERP therapy significantly reduced OCD symptoms

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Disclosures:
Feusner reports personal fees from NOCD Inc. during the course of the study. Smith is employed by NOCD. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.


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Exposure and response prevention treatment through video teletherapy showed effectiveness in reducing obsessive-compulsive symptoms while improving quality of life, per a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

“Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that consistently demonstrates efficacy for [obsessive compulsive disorder] in numerous controlled trials and is also effective in less controlled clinical settings,” Jamie D. Feusner, MD, of the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and colleagues wrote.



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Despite extensive evidence of the efficacy of ERP from clinical studies and in real-world samples, it is still underutilized as a treatment. Therefore, Feusner and fellow researchers at NOCD, a company that provides telehealth for patients with OCD, sought to address these treatment gaps by creating a digital behavioral health treatment for OCD using ERP delivered via video teletherapy and examining subsequent treatment outcomes.

The retrospective, longitudinal observational study included 3,552 individuals with a diagnosis of OCD, who were treated with live twice-weekly Zoom teletherapy ERP for 3 weeks, followed by 6 weeks of once-weekly brief video teletherapy check-ins for 30 minutes. Participants also completed ongoing ERP homework assignments for the duration.

Assessments were made through the 20-item self-report Dimensional Obsessive-Compulsive Scale, DIAMOND severity scale, and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS-21) and Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire-Short Form, conducted at treatment initiation, after completion of 3 weeks of twice-weekly sessions, and at the end of 6 weeks of brief check-ins. Longitudinal assessments were also obtained at 3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month intervals following treatment conclusion.

Results showed treatment resulted in a 43.4% mean reduction in obsessive-compulsive symptoms (g = 1; 95% CI, 0.93-1.03) and a 62.9% response rate. Treatment also resulted in a 44.2% mean reduction in depression, a 47.8% mean reduction in anxiety, and a 37.3% mean reduction in stress symptoms.

Quality of life improved by a mean of 22.7%. Reduction in OCD symptoms and response rates were similar for those with mild, moderate or severe symptoms. Improvements were maintained at the 3, 6, 9 and 12-month follow-up intervals.

“This breakthrough study provides strong clinical evidence that behavioral telehealth works as well as traditional in-office visits, with faster time-to-relief at a significantly lower cost for consumers, employers, and health plans,” Stephen Smith, chief executive officer of NOCD, said in a release that accompanied the study.

Reference:

  • Business Wire. Industry’s largest peer-reviewed longitudinal study on behavioral telehealth reveals levels of treatment effectiveness, duration, and cost compared to traditional treatment. Accessed June 17, 2022.

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