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Br J Gen Pract. 2003 Dec;53(497):923-8.

Psychological treatment for insomnia in the management of long-term hypnotic drug use: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.

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Sleep Research Centre, Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicester.



To evaluate the clinical and cost impact of providing cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for insomnia (comprising sleep hygiene, stimulus control, relaxation and cognitive therapy components) to long-term hypnotic drug users in general practice.


A pragmatic randomised controlled trial with two treatment arms (a CBT treated 'sleep clinic' group, and a 'no additional treatment' control group), with post-treatment assessments commencing at 3 and 6 months.


Twenty-three general practices in Sheffield, UK.


Two hundred and nine serially referred patients aged 31-92 years with chronic sleep problems who had been using hypnotic drugs for at least 1 month (mean duration = 13.4 years).


At 3- and 6-month follow-ups patients treated with CBT reported significant reductions in sleep latency, significant improvements in sleep efficiency, and significant reductions in the frequency of hypnotic drug use (all P<0.01). Among CBT treated patients SF-36 scores showed significant improvements in vitality at 3 months (P<0.01). Older age presented no barrier to successful treatment outcomes. The total cost of service provision was 154.40 per patient, with a mean incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year of 3416 (at 6 months). However, there was evidence of longer term cost offsets owing to reductions in sleeping tablet use and reduced utilisation of primary care services.


In routine general practice settings, psychological treatments for insomnia can improve sleep quality and reduce hypnotic consumption at a favourable cost among long-term hypnotic users with chronic sleep difficulties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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