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Ethn Health. 2001 Feb;6(1):59-67.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for the management of sickle cell disease pain: identification and assessment of costs.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Guy's, Kings & St Thomas' Medical School, London, UK.



The aim of the present study was to investigate the economic validity of using a psychological intervention in the management of sickle cell disease (SCD). Thomas et al. (Br J Health Psychol 1999; 4: 209-29) concluded that cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) appears to be immediately effective for the management of SCD pain in terms of reducing psychological distress pain as well as improving coping.


The costs of management of SCD were evaluated using a societal viewpoint. This approach includes health and social services as well as costs privately borne by informal carers, but it did not include the economic loss due to patients' foregone earnings. Cost profiles were constructed for each patient taking account of cost generating events 12 months before and 12 months after CBT.


The hypothesis of the present study, stating that CBT is economically efficient, was confirmed. However, analysis of longitudinal data suggests that CBT is most cost-effective during the first 6 months after the intervention.


The present findings suggest the need for CBT to be integrated into the normal package of care available for all patients with SCD. The clinical implication is that CBT should be routinely offered to patients on a 6-monthly basis.

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