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Unified Protocol Comparable to Standard Treatment

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Aug 2; Barlow, et al

The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders (UP) produces symptom reduction equivalent to criterion standard evidence-based psychological treatments for anxiety disorders with less attrition, according to a recent study. Thus, it may be possible to use 1 protocol instead of multiple single-disorder protocols (SDPs) to more efficiently treat the most commonly occurring anxiety and depressive disorders. From June 23, 2011, to March 5, 2015, 223 patients at an outpatient treatment center with a principal diagnosis of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or social anxiety disorder were randomly assigned by principal diagnosis to the UP, an SDP, or a waitlist control condition. Among total patients (124 women and 99 men; mean [SD] age, 31.1 [11.0] years), 88 were randomized to receive the UP; 91, an SDP; and 44, the waitlist control condition. Researchers found:

  • Patients were more likely to complete treatment with the UP than with SDPs.
  • Both the UP and SDPs were superior to the waitlist control condition at acute outcome.
Citation:

Barlow DH, Farchione TJ, Bullis JR, et al. The Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders compared with diagnosis-specific protocols for anxiety disorders. A randomized clinical trial. [Published online ahead of print August 2, 2017]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2164.

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