A prospective service evaluation of acceptance and commitment therapy for patients with refractory epilepsy
Objective: The aims of this service evaluation were to explore the effectiveness of a psychotherapeutic treatment for patients with epilepsy based on the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approach and to assess whether this treatment is likely to be cost-effective. \ud \ud Method: We conducted an uncontrolled prospective study of consecutive patients with refractory epilepsy referred for outpatient psychological treatment to a single psychotherapist because of emotional difficulties related to their seizure disorder. Participants were referred by consultant neurologists, neuropsychologists, or epilepsy nurses, completed a set of validated self-report questionnaires (Short Form - 12 version 2, Generalized Anxiety Disorder - 7, Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy, Work and Social Adjustment Scale, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), and reported their seizure frequency at referral, the end of therapy, and six months posttherapy. Patients received a maximum of 20 sessions of one-to-one psychological treatment supported by a workbook. Cost-effectiveness was estimated based on the calculation of quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gains associated with the intervention. \ud \ud Results: Sixty patients completed the prepsychotherapy and postpsychotherapy questionnaires, among whom 41 also provided six-month follow-up data. Patients received six to 20 sessions of psychotherapy (mean = 11.5, S.D. = 9.6). Psychotherapy was associated with significant medium to large positive effects on depression, anxiety, quality of life, self-esteem, and work and social adjustment ( ps < .001), which were sustained six months after therapy. The mean cost of the psychotherapy was £445.6, and, assuming that benefits were maintained for at least six months after the end of therapy, the cost per QALY was estimated to be £11,140 (€14,119, $18,016; the cost per QALY would be half this amount if the benefits lasted one year). \ud \ud Conclusion: The findings of this pilot study indicate that the described psychotherapeutic intervention may be a cost-effective treatment for patients with epilepsy. The results suggest that a randomized controlled trial of the psychotherapy program is justified.
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