British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 31 Issue 3 (September 1992), Pages 257-384

Treatment of depressive and obsessive‐compulsive symptoms in OCD by imipramine and behaviour therapy (pages 279-292)

The efficacy of behavioural treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) has been well documented. However, severely depressed OCD patients showed fewer short‐ and long‐term benefits than less depressed patients. The present study tested the hypothesis that reduction of depression by imipramine prior to behaviour therapy would enhance the effects of behavioural therapy on depressed OC patients. Thirty‐eight patients were divided into highly and mildly depressed groups according to their scores on the Beck Depression Inventory; half of each group received imipramine and half received placebo for six weeks. All patients then received three weeks of daily behavioural treatment (exposure and response prevention) followed by 12 weekly sessions of supportive psychotherapy. Results indicated that although imipramine improved depressive symptoms in depressed patients, it did not affect OC symptoms. Behaviour therapy markedly reduced OC symptoms but, contrary to our hypothesis, imipramine did not potentiate the effects of behaviour therapy. No differences between highly depressed and mildly depressed patients on OC symptoms were found in their responses to behavioural or supportive therapy.

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