Review of the long-term effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy compared to medications in panic disorder.
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Panic disorder is a recurrent and disabling illness. It is believed that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has a long-term protective effect for this disorder. This would offer CBT considerable advantage over medication management of panic disorder, as patients often relapse when they are tapered off their medications. This is a review of the literature about the long-term effectiveness of CBT. We searched for follow-up studies of panic disorder using CBT. Of the 78 citations produced in the initial search, most had major methodological flaws, including ignoring losses to follow-up, not accounting for interval treatment, and unclear reporting. Three papers met strict methodological criteria, and two of these demonstrated a modest protective effect of CBT in panic disorder patients. We make recommendations for well-designed studies involving comparisons of medications and cognitive behavior therapy.Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.