Carter FA, Jordan J, McIntosh VV, Luty SE, McKenzie JM, Frampton CM, Bulik CM, Joyce PR. (2011). The long-term efficacy of three psychotherapies for anorexia nervosa: A randomized, controlled trial. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44(7), 647-654.
Long-term outcome (~6.7 years) of a randomized controlled trial in the treatment of broadly-defined anorexia nervosa (AN) comparing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and specialist supportive clinical management (SSCM) was explored. Participants were assessed immediately after treatment and again an average of 6.7 years post-treatment. Immediately after treatment, significantly more individuals randomized to SSCM were classified as having a good outcome (75%) than CBT (33%) or IPT (15%). At the long-term assessment, this difference was no longer apparent with 64% of individuals in IPT, 42% of those in SSCM, and 41% of those in CBT having a good outcome. Many participants in the IPT group improved over time from originally having poor post-treatment outcome to having good long-term follow-up outcome.
Based on these different trajectories of response, SSCM could be an effective treatment for broadly-defined AN to accelerate short-term recovery. Sequencing of IPT following SSCM should be explored for long-term benefit and to prevent relapse. Some limitations of this study were that the sample size studied was small (only 43 participants completed the long-term follow-up assessment), that large between group effect sizes were not observed at the long-term follow-up assessment, and that the treatment period was relatively short—only 20 sessions. In summary, no significant differences were found across the three treatment conditions at the long-term follow-up assessment and only around half of patients had good outcome.