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Cost-effectiveness of preventing first-episode psychosis in ultra-high-risk subjects: multi-centre randomized controlled trial

  • H. K. Ising (a1), F. Smit (a2) (a3) (a4), W. Veling (a5), J. Rietdijk (a6), S. Dragt (a7), R. M. C. Klaassen (a8), N. S. P. Savelsberg (a1) (a2), N. Boonstra (a9), D. H. Nieman (a7), D. H. Linszen (a7), L. Wunderink (a9) and M. van der Gaag (a1) (a2)...



Although there is evidence for the effectiveness of interventions for psychosis among ultra-high-risk (UHR) groups, health economic evaluations are lacking. This study aimed to determine the cost effectiveness and cost–utility of cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) to prevent first-episode psychosis.


The Dutch Early Detection and Intervention Evaluation study was a randomized controlled trial of 196 UHR patients with an 18-month follow-up. All participants were treated with routine care (RC) for non-psychotic disorders. The experimental group (n = 95) received add-on CBT to prevent first-episode psychosis. We report the intervention, medical and travel costs, as well as costs arising from loss of productivity. Treatment response was defined as psychosis-free survival and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained.


In the cost-effectiveness analysis, the proportion of averted psychoses was significantly higher in the CBT condition (89.5% v. 76.2%). CBT showed a 63.7% probability of being more cost effective, because it was less costly than RC by US$844 (£551) per prevented psychosis. In the cost–utility analysis, QALY health gains were slightly higher for CBT than for RC (0.60 v. 0.57) and the CBT intervention had a 52.3% probability of being the superior treatment because, for equal or better QALY gains, the costs of CBT were lower than those of RC.


Add-on preventive CBT for UHR resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of first psychosis. QALY gains show little difference between the two conditions. The CBT intervention proved to be cost saving.


Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: M. van der Gaag, Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Email:


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