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Two types of mentalisation-based treatment (MBT) have been developed and empirically evaluated for borderline personality disorder (BPD): day hospital MBT (MBT-DH) and intensive out-patient MBT (MBT-IOP). No trial has yet compared their efficacy.
To compare the efficacy of MBT-DH and MBT-IOP 18 months after start of treatment. MBT-DH was hypothesised to be superior to MBT-IOP because of its higher treatment intensity.
In a multicentre randomised controlled trial (Nederlands Trial Register: NTR2292) conducted at three sites in the Netherlands, patients with BPD were randomly assigned to MBT-DH (n = 70) or MBT-IOP (n = 44). The primary outcome was symptom severity (Brief Symptom Inventory). Secondary outcome measures included borderline symptomatology, personality functioning, interpersonal functioning, quality of life and self-harm. Patients were assessed every 6 months from baseline to 18 months after start of treatment. Data were analysed using multilevel modelling based on intention-to-treat principles.
Significant improvements were found on all outcome measures, with moderate to very large effect sizes for both groups. MBT-DH was not superior to MBT-IOP on the primary outcome measure, but MBT-DH showed a clear tendency towards superiority on secondary outcomes.
Although MBT-DH was not superior to MBT-IOP on the primary outcome measure despite its greater treatment intensity, MBT-DH showed a tendency to be more effective on secondary outcomes, particularly in terms of relational functioning. Patients receiving MBT-DH and MBT-IOP, thus, seem to follow different trajectories of change, which may have important implications for clinical decision-making. Longer-term follow-up and cost-effectiveness considerations may ultimately determine the optimal intensity of specialised treatments such as MBT for patients with BPD.
Declaration of interest
P.L. and D.L.B. have been involved in the training and dissemination of MBT.
Recommendations on current clinical guidelines are informed by limited economic evidence.
A formal economic evaluation of three modalities of psychotherapy for patients with cluster B personality disorders.
A probabilistic decision-analytic model to assess the cost-effectiveness of out-patient, day hospital and in-patient psychotherapy over 5 years in terms of cost per recovered patient-year and cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Analyses were conducted from both societal and payer perspectives.
From the societal perspective, the most cost-effective choice switched from out-patient to day hospital psychotherapy at a threshold of €12 274 per recovered patient-year; and from day hospital to in-patient psychotherapy at €113 298. In terms of cost per QALY, the optimal strategy changed at €56 325 and €286 493 per QALY respectively. From the payer perspective, the switch points were at €9895 and €155 797 per recovered patient-year, and €43 427 and €561 188 per QALY.
Out-patient psychotherapy and day hospital psychotherapy are the optimal treatments for patients with cluster B personality disorders in terms of cost per recovered patient-year and cost per QALY.
Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is widely considered to be a promising treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the evidence for its efficacy published thus far should be regarded as preliminary.
To compare the effectiveness of DBT with treatment as usual for patients with BPD and to examine the impact of baseline severity on effectiveness.
Fifty-eight women with BPD were randomly assigned to either 12 months of DBT or usual treatment in a randomised controlled study. Participants were recruited through clinical referrals from both addiction treatment and psychiatric services. Outcome measures included treatment retention and the course of suicidal, self-mutilating and self-damaging impulsive behaviours.
Dialectical behaviour therapy resulted in better retention rates and greater reductions of self-mutilating and self-damaging impulsive behaviours compared with usual treatment, especially among those with a history of frequent self-mutilation.
Dialectical behaviour therapy is superior to usual treatment in reducing high-risk behaviours in patients with BPD.
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