Pilot Study of a Telehealth-Delivered Medication-Augmented Exposure Therapy Protocol for PTSD

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition, with certain occupations at increased risk due to greater trauma exposure. These same individuals face multiple barriers to care. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of conducting a research trial with exposure therapy delivered via videoconferencing. Eleven adults working in occupations at risk with PTSD enrolled and seven completed 12 to 15 sessions. Individuals were randomized to receive the cognitive enhancer D-cycloserine or placebo, and participants provided saliva samples for genetic analysis. Treatment completers demonstrated decreases in PTSD and depressive symptomatology (measured by CAPS [p < 0.001, d = 2.79] and BDI-II [p = 0.004, d = 0.92]). Participants reported high therapeutic alliance, treatment satisfaction, and telehealth satisfaction. There were no significant technical, medication, or safety issues, and no clinical emergencies. The results suggest that it may be feasible to conduct clinical research using telehealth for PTSD and to use telehealth to increase access to care.

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