Study finds insufficient evidence to justify most effective hallmark treatment for PTSD

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For post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is drug treatment or psychotherapy more effective? A new study found that there is insufficient evidence to make a determination. The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychiatry Research.

In the systematic review and meta-analysis, led by Jeffrey Sonis of the University of North Carolina, researchers were unable to conclude the hallmark form of treatment considered most effective, despite psychotherapy declaratory a more frequent choice by clinicans.

“We believe that only head-to-head randomized trials comparing psychotherapy directly to medications should be used to determine the relative effectiveness of psychotherapy and medications for treatment of PTSD,” Sonis stated.

“There have been other meta-analyses of head-to-head randomize trials for treatment of PTSD previously but several head-to-head trials had been published since the last meta-analysis. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis exclusively consisting of head-to-head randomized trials.”

“We found that the best estimate of the effect, comparing psychotherapy and medications, was that there was no difference between the two. However, the 95% confidence interval was very wide, indicating that true effect may favor psychotherapy or it may favor medications.”

Sonis added, “We concluded that there is still insufficient evidence to determine whether psychotherapy or medications were more effective for treatment of PTSD in adults.”

“Because of these findings, we recommend that, until we have evidence from head-to-head trials favoring one treatment or the other, clinicians should make shared decisions, with patients, about which treatment modality to use.”