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NICE recommends new online therapy tool for depression

A new online programme of cognitive behavioural therapy is set to be trialled on the NHS for patients with mild to moderate depression.

NICE recommends in its first technology briefing for a psychological intervention that Deprexis, an online programme where users can work through modules to learn about and apply the principles of CBT, should be trialled as part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

Deprexis includes modules on behavioural activation, mindfulness, relaxation and problem-solving and can be delivered with the support of a therapist, who the patient can communicate with via online messaging.

NICE suggests in the technology appraisal that the programme could be used in primary or secondary care as part of step two in the stepped care approach to treating depression.

The IAPT expert panel which conferred on the technology appraisal noted that Deprexis may not lead to cost savings, but could free up therapist time if the number of face-to-face CBT consultations went down.

They also noted that as Deprexis is currently available in Germany, changes would need to be made to the therapist’s manual and parts of the programme to ensure that it fits with UK standard practice.

A NICE spokesperson said: ‘The expert panel concluded that Deprexis could be an effective alternative therapy for adults with depression. NICE is recommending that the therapy is trialled for up to two years as part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.’

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