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CBT ‘helps improve asthma anxiety’

Cognitive-behavioural therapy has a ‘modest' effect on reducing the level of anxiety in asthma patients, conclude UK researchers.

The Department of Health-funded trial randomised patients with a clinical diagnosis of asthma to receive either cognitive-behavioural therapy with education, or standard medical care.

Participants completed a questionnaire at baseline that measured asthma-specific fear, as well as secondary outcomes in health status, symptoms of depression and asthma-specific health-related quality of life. Measures were recorded immediately after treatment, and at six-month follow up.

Those randomised to the CBT group had a significant reduction in asthma-specific fear scores at the end of treatment compared with the standard care group, with a difference of -1.20. This increased to -3.34 six months after the intervention, compared with the standard care group.

Professor Glenys Parry, study lead and professor of applied psychological therapies at the University of Sheffield, said: ‘This study supports the short term and longer term efficacy of a CBT intervention in reducing panic fear in asthma, though the clinical significance of the effect was modest.'

Respiratory Medicine 2012, online 8 March

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