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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994 Dec;51(12):989-97.

One-year follow-up of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for cocaine dependence. Delayed emergence of psychotherapy effects.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Neither the durability of brief ambulatory treatments for cocaine dependence nor the relative ability of psychotherapy vs pharmacotherapy to effect lasting change has been evaluated in well-controlled randomized trials.

METHODS:

We conducted a 1-year naturalistic follow-up of 121 ambulatory cocaine abusers who underwent psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention or clinical management) and pharmacotherapy (desipramine hydrochloride or placebo) in a 2 x 2 design. Subjects were interviewed 1, 3, 6, or 12 months after the termination of a 12-week course of outpatient treatment. Eighty percent (n = 97) of the subjects who were randomized to treatment were followed up at least once.

RESULTS:

First, the effects of study treatments appeared durable over the follow-up; as for the full sample, measures of cocaine use indicated either improvement or no change over posttreatment levels. Second, abstinence during treatment was strongly associated with less cocaine use during follow-up. Third, random effects regression models indicated significant psychotherapy-by-time effects, suggesting a delayed improved response during follow-up for patients who received cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention compared with supportive clinical management.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest a delayed emergence of the effects of cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention, which may reflect the subjects' implementation of the generalizable coping skills conveyed through that treatment. Moreover, these data underline the importance of conducting follow-up studies of substance abusers and other groups because delayed effects may occur after the cessation of short-term treatments.

PMID:
7979888
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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