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Online programme recommended by NICE for adults with depression

NHS England is hoping to improve access to innovative therapies by trialling an online cognitive behavioural therapy programme for adults with mild-to-moderate depression.

An online and mobile programme for adults with mild-to-moderate depression has been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to be trialled as part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

Deprexis, which can be used on smartphone, tablet or desktop, uses techniques based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to help users find effective ways of coping with depression.

The content of Deprexis is delivered in 10 weekly modules - including mindfulness and acceptance, and problem solving — that explain and provide examples of CBT techniques, and allow the user to practise them.

NICE highlighted that its intended place in therapy would be as a step-2 therapy, as an alternative to face-to-face CBT. The user would be supported by a therapist who would help them work through the programme, giving them feedback and guidance along the way.

“Deprexis is a digital therapy that could help speed up access to care and free up therapist time to treat more people,” explained Paul Chrisp, programme director of the medical and technologies programme at NICE.

“This new programme, funded by NHS England, has meant that we can now open up access to innovative therapies by recommending them for real-world evidence study.”

Deprexis is not yet commercially available in the UK but the German-language version can be accessed for around €297.50 (about £270 as at December 2017) per person for 90 days’ access (including tax), NICE said.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204311

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