The British Journal of Psychiatry
Cost-effectiveness of preventing depression in primary care patients
Randomised trial
FILIP SMIT, GODELIEF WILLEMSE, MARC KOOPMANSCHAP, SIMONE ONRUST, PIM CUIJPERS, AARTJAN BEEKMAN

Abstract

Background Little is known about the cost-effectiveness of preventing mental disorders.

Aims To study the cost-effectiveness of care as usual plus minimal contact psychotherapy relative to usual care alone in preventing depressive disorder.

Method An economic evaluation was conducted alongside a randomised clinical trial. Primary care patients with sub-threshold depression were assigned to minimal contact psychotherapy plus usual care (n=107) or to usual care alone (n=109).

Results Primarycare patients with sub-threshold depression benefited from minimal contact psychotherapy as it reduced the risk of developing a full-blown depressive disorder from 18% to 12%. In addition, this intervention had a 70% probability of being more cost-effective than usual care alone. A sensitivity analysis indicated the robustness of these results.

Conclusions Over 1 year adjunctive minimal contact psychotherapy improved outcomes and generated lower costs. This intervention is therefore superior to usual care alone in terms of cost-effectiveness.

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