Sharp DM, Power KG, Simpson R, Swanson V & Anstee JA (1997) Global measures of outcome in a controlled comparison of pharmacological and psychological treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 47 (416), pp. 150-155. http://bjgp.org/content/47/416/150.short
BACKGROUND: Panic disorder, with and without agoraphobia, is a prevalent condition which presents primarily in general practice. Previous clinical outcome studies have been conducted mainly in specialist university departments or hospital settings, and have tended to employ complex rating scales that are not well suited for use as outcome measures in primary care.
AIM: To evaluate the outcome, in a primary care setting, of fluvoxamine versus cognitive behaviour therapy, each used alone and in combination in a double-blind placebo-controlled framework, balanced for therapist contact.
METHOD: A total of 149 patients satisfying DSMIII-R criteria for panic disorder were randomly allocated to receive one of the following: fluvoxamine, placebo, fluvoxamine plus cognitive behaviour therapy, placebo plus cognitive behaviour therapy, and cognitive behaviour therapy alone. These five treatment groups represent the minimum number acceptable for such a comparison to be made. All patients received an identical schedule of contact over 13 weeks. Measures of symptom severity, general health and social disruption were taken at entry point and end point; measures of change in symptoms were taken at end point only. Outcome was reported in terms of brief global ratings of severity of illness and change in symptoms, and of ratings of general health and social disruption that are suitable for use in general practice.
RESULTS: All active treatment groups showed statistically significant advantages over placebo over a range of outcome ratings. The groups employing cognitive behaviour therapy showed the most robust and consistent response.
CONCLUSION: The brief global measures reported here proved adequate to the task of assessing treatment outcome. Results indicate that treatments including cognitive behaviour therapy can be effective in the treatment of panic disorder and agoraphobia in primary care.
British Journal of General Practice: Volume 47, Issue 416