Cognitive-Behavioral TherapyObsessive Compulsive

Cognitive behavior therapy to treat OCD

Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has improved significantly with the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in Philadelphia, examined the effects of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) as a way to augment the response to SRIs.

First, the details.

  • 124 pediatric patients with OCD and a Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale score of at least 16 despite adequate treatment with SRIs were studied for 12 weeks.
  • Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatment strategies that included 7 sessions over 12 weeks
    • Medication management only
    • Medication management + instructions in CBT
    • Medication management + CBT, , which included 14 concurrent CBT sessions
  • The objective was to achieve changes in their baseline obsessive-compulsive scale score by at least 30%.

And, the results.

  • At 12 weeks the percentages of participants with at least a 30% reduction in their Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale baseline score were as follows.
    • Medication management + CBT group: 69%
    • Medication management + instructions in CBT group: 34%
    • Medication management only group: 30%
  • Medication management + CBT was superior to the other treatments.
  • Adding CBT instructions was not better than medication management only.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Among patients aged 7 to 17 years with OCD and partial response to SRI use, the addition of CBT to medication management compared with medication management alone resulted in a significantly greater response rate, whereas augmentation of medication management with the addition of instructions in CBT did not.”

10/3/11 21:14 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.