Early intervention in panic: pragmatic randomised controlled trial

P. Meulenbeek, G. Willemsen, H.F.E. Smit, A.J.L.M. van Balkom, P. Cuijpers, P. Spinhoven

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Many people suffer from subthreshold and mild panic
disorder and are at risk of developing more severe panic
This study (trial registration: ISRCTN33407455) was conducted
to evaluate the effectiveness of an early group intervention
based on cognitive–behavioural principles to reduce panic
disorder symptomatology.
Participants with subthreshold or mild panic disorder were
recruited from the general population and randomised to the
intervention (n = 109) or a waiting-list control group (n = 108).
The course was offered by 17 community mental health
In the early intervention group, 43/109 (39%) participants
presented with a clinically significant change on the Panic
Disorder Severity Scale–Self Report (PDSS–SR) v. 17/108 (16%)
in the control group (odds ratio (OR) for favourable treatment
response 3.49, 95% CI 1.77–6.88, P = 0.001). The course also
had a positive effect on DSM–IV panic disorder status
(OR = 1.96, 95% CI=1.05–3.66, P = 0.037). The PDSS–SR
symptom reduction was also substantial (between-group
standardised mean difference of 0.68). The effects were
maintained at 6-month follow-up.
People presenting with subthreshold and mild panic disorder
benefit from this brief intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-331
JournalBritish journal of psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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