A pragmatic randomised controlled trial assessing the non-inferiority of counselling for depression versus cognitive-behaviour therapy for patients in primary care meeting a diagnosis of moderate or severe depression (PRaCTICED): Study protocol for a [...]


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Abstract Background NICE guidelines state cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a front-line psychological treatment for people presenting with depression in primary care. Counselling for Depression (CfD), a form of Person-Centred Experiential therapy, is also offered within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services for moderate depression but its effectiveness for severe depression has not been investigated. A full-scale randomised controlled trial to determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of CfD is required. Methods PRaCTICED is a two-arm, parallel group, non-inferiority randomised controlled trial comparing CfD against CBT. It is embedded within the local IAPT service using a stepped care service delivery model where CBT and CfD are routinely offered at step 3. Trial inclusion criteria comprise patients aged 18 years or over, wishing to work on their depression, judged to require a step 3 intervention, and meeting an ICD-10 diagnosis of moderate or severe depression. Patients are randomised using a centralised, web-based system to CfD or CBT with each treatment being delivered up to a maximum 20 sessions. Both interventions are manualised with treatment fidelity tested via supervision and random sampling of sessions using adherence/competency scales. The primary outcome measure is the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 collected at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Secondary outcome measures tap depression, generic psychological distress, anxiety, functioning and quality of life. Cost-effectiveness is determined by a patient service receipt questionnaire. Exit interviews are conducted with patients by research assessors blind to treatment allocation. The trial requires 500 patients (250 per arm) to test the non-inferiority hypothesis of −2 PHQ-9 points at the one-sided, 2.5% significance level with 90% power, assuming no underlying difference and a standard deviation of 6.9. The primary analysis will be undertaken on all patients randomised (intent to treat) alongside per-protocol and complier-average causal effect analyses as recommended by the extension to the CONSORT statement for non-inferiority trials. Discussion This large-scale trial utilises routinely collected outcome data as well as specific trial data to provide evidence of the comparative efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Counselling for Depression compared with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as delivered within the UK government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative. Trial registration Controlled Trials ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN06461651 . Registered on 14 September 2014.
Date made available1 Mar 2017

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