Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Review Article

Does CBT have lasting effects in the treatment of PTSD after one year of follow-up? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

A TCC possui efeitos duradouros no tratamento do TEPT após um ano de seguimento? Revisão sistemática de ensaios clínicos randomizados

Tânia Macedo; Marllon Barbosa; Helga Rodrigues; Evandro da Silva Freire Coutinho; Ivan Figueira; Paula Ventura

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Abstract Introduction: While several previous meta-analyses have documented the short-term efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), its long-term efficacy remains unknown. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious, debilitating, often chronic and disabling disease. Objective: To estimate the long-term efficacy of CBT in the treatment of PTSD by assessing the maintenance of the effect after one year of follow-up. Method: We performed a systematic review through electronic database searches including ISI Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo and Pilots. We included randomized studies in which CBT was compared with a control group (waiting list or usual care) in adults with PTSD that reported at least one year of CBT follow-up. Results: Our search identified 2,324 studies and 8 were selected. CBT was shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD in the post-treatment period. Improvement in PTSD symptoms was statistically significant in relation to the control group. The improvement observed in the treatment group or single group (formed by both treatment group and control group, which was submitted to the intervention after a few weeks on the waiting list) was maintained in the follow-up. Conclusion: Due to the lack of control groups in the follow-up period in six of the eight studies included in this review, there is still no proper methodological basis to assert that CBT has lasting effects in the treatment of PTSD. Our study found serious methodological shortcomings and the need to fill this gap in the literature through the development of studies with robust and sophisticated designs.


Post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy, follow-up, lasting effects


Resumo Introdução: Várias meta-análises anteriores documentaram a eficácia a curto prazo da terapia cognitivo-comportamental (TCC). No entanto, sua eficácia a longo prazo permanece desconhecida. O transtorno de estresse pós-traumático (TEPT) é uma doença crônica grave, debilitante e incapacitante. Objetivo: Estimar a eficácia a longo prazo da TCC no tratamento do TEPT, avaliando a manutenção do efeito após um ano de seguimento. Métodos: Realizamos uma revisão sistemática através de pesquisas nas bases de dados eletrônicas ISI Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo e Pilots. Incluímos estudos randomizados nos quais a TCC foi comparada com um grupo controle (lista de espera ou tratamento usual) em adultos com TEPT que relataram pelo menos um ano de seguimento da TCC. Resultados: A pesquisa identificou 2.324 estudos e 8 foram selecionados. A TCC mostrou-se eficaz no tratamento do TEPT no período pós-tratamento. A melhora nos sintomas de TEPT foi estatisticamente significativa em relação ao grupo controle. A melhora observada no grupo de tratamento ou grupo único (formado por ambos os grupos de tratamento e controle, que foi submetido à intervenção após algumas semanas na lista de espera) foi mantida no seguimento. Conclusão: Devido à ausência de grupo controle no período de follow-up em 6 dos 8 estudos incluídos nesta revisão, ainda não há base metodológica adequada para afirmar que a TCC tem efeitos duradouros no tratamento do TEPT. Nosso estudo encontrou graves deficiências metodológicas e a necessidade de preencher essa lacuna na literatura através de estudos com delineamentos robustos e sofisticados.


Transtorno de estresse pós-traumático, terapia cognitivo-comportamental, seguimento, efeitos duradouros


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