Long-term course and outcome of obsessive-compulsive patients after cognitive-behavioral therapy in combination with either fluvoxamine or placebo: a 7-year follow-up of a randomized double-blind trial.
Longitudinal studies with very long follow-up periods of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who have received adequate treatment are rare. In the current study, 30 of 37 inpatients (81%) with severe OCD were followed up 6-8 years after treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in combination with either fluvoxamine or placebo in a randomized design. The significant improvements (with large effectsizes) in obsessive-compulsive symptoms from pre- to post-treatment (41% reduction on the Y-BOCS) remained stable at follow-up (45 %). Responder rates, defined as > or = 35% reduction on the Y-BOCS, were 67% and 60%, respectively. Depressive symptoms decreased significantly not only from pre- to post-treatment but also during follow-up. Re-hospitalization, which occurred in 11 patients (37 %), was associated with more severe depressive symptoms at pre-treatment and living without a partner. Full symptom remission at follow-up, defined as both Y-BOCS total score < or = 7 and no longer meeting diagnostic criteria for OCD, was achieved by 8 patients (27 %). Patients without full remission at follow-up had a significantly longer history of OCD, assessed at pretreatment, compared to remitted patients. The shortterm treatment outcome had no predictive value for the long-term course. Throughout the naturalistic follow-up, nearly all patients (29 patients) received additional psychotherapy and/or medication. This might indicate that such chronic OCD patients usually need additional therapeutic support after effective inpatient treatment to maintain their improvements over long periods.