Researchers examine effective, affordable treatment for OCD

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USF public health researcher examines the most effective and cost-effective ways of treating treatment-refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder

 Troy Quast, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of South Florida, College of Public Health, in Tampa, Fla., is a co-author on a study involving obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The study looks at OCD unresponsive to treatment and the most effective and cost-effective ways of treating it.

Treatment-Refractory Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Adults: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Treatment Strategies” appears in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

OCD is a debilitating mental illness affecting 1.2 percent of American adults. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts and sensations and repetitive, compulsive behavior, such as obsessive hand washing. The disorder can wreak havoc on a person’s professional, personal and social life, disrupting normal relationships.

Quast and his colleagues looked at seven outpatient treatments for OCD and evaluated them based on cost and effectiveness across the life expectancy of a simulated cohort of individuals. Some of the treatment strategies analyzed were the use of antidepressant medication, antidepressants used in combination with antipsychotic medications or cognitive behavioral therapy, intensive outpatient treatments and partial hospitalization with a step-down to intensive outpatient therapy (PHP/IOP therapy).

The study shows that PHP/IOP therapy yielded the highest net health benefits of the seven strategies studied. While it is the costliest option, it yields 10.92 quality-adjusted life years, more than any other modality.

“We hope that our analysis provides guidance to clinicians in determining the most cost-effective yet feasible treatment approaches to challenging OCD cases,” said Quast.