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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1995 Nov;17(6):414-24.

The efficacy of psychosocial treatments in primary care. A review of randomized clinical trials.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.


Depression and anxiety are the most common psychiatric disorders among ambulatory medical patients and are associated with significant functional disability. However, they remain underrecognized and/or inadequately treated. The AHCPR Depression Guideline Panel recently reviewed the efficacy of pharmacologic interventions for mood disorders in the primary care section, but there are as yet no comparable analyses of the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for primary care patients experiencing depression or anxiety. This review of randomized, controlled trials conducted in primary care settings generally supports the efficacy of psychosocial treatments (PSTs) provided to ambulatory medical patients with psychiatric disorders. However, methodologic deficiencies in these trials (i.e., diagnostic classification of study subjects, attrition patterns, and criteria for assessing treatment response) limit the generalizability of their findings to routine practice. Studies evaluating the effect of PSTs on health care cost and utilization found changes in physicians' prescribing practices, patients' use of psychotropic medication, and number of patient visits to primary care physicians. However, results varied across studies because of methodologic deficiencies similar to those noted previously. Suggestions are offered for improving the internal and external validity of randomized PST trials in primary care settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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