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Cognitive behavioural therapy improved psychiatric symptoms in drug refractory schizophrenia

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QUESTION: Is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) more effective than a befriending intervention for reducing psychiatric symptoms in drug refractory schizophrenia?


Randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (outcome assessors), controlled trial with 9 months of follow up after treatment.


5 clinical services in the UK (Newcastle, Cleveland, Durham, and 2 in west London).


90 patients who were 16–60 years of age (mean age 39 y, 59% men, 89% white), met ICD-10 research and DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia, and had symptoms causing distress or dysfunction for ≥6 months despite adequate doses of antipsychotic drugs. Follow up was 100% for all outcomes except for scores on the Scale for Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), which had 98% follow up.


Patients were allocated to CBT (n=46) or befriending (n=44). …

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  • Sources of funding: Wellcome Trust and Hounslow and Spelthorne Community and Mental Health National Health Service Trust.

  • For correspondence: Dr T Sensky, Division of Neurosciences and Psychological Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, West Middlesex University Hospital, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 6AF, UK. t.skensky{at}