Differential effects of sertraline and cognitive behavioural therapy on behavioural inhibition in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder

Jemma E Reid, Luca Pellegrini, Lynne Drummond, Yana Varlakova, Sonia Shahper, David S Baldwin, Christopher Manson, Samuel R Chamberlain, Trevor W Robbins, David Wellsted, Naomi A Fineberg

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Abstract

Patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) randomised to sertraline, manualised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or combination (sertraline + CBT), underwent cognitive assessment. Cognitive testing was conducted at baseline and at week 16. The stop signal reaction time task (SSRT) was used to evaluate motor impulsivity and attentional flexibility was evaluated using the intra/extra-dimensional set shifting task. Paired-samples t-tests or nonparametric variants were used to compare baseline and posttreatment scores within each treatment group. Forty-five patients were tested at baseline (sertraline n = 14; CBT n = 14; sertraline + CBT n = 17) and 23 patients at week 16 (sertraline n = 6; CBT n = 7; sertraline + CBT n = 10). The mean dosage of sertraline was numerically higher in those taking sertraline as a monotherapy (166.67 mg) compared with those taking sertraline in combination with CBT (100 mg). Analysis of pre-post treatment scores using an intent-to-treat-analysis found a significant reduction in the SSRT in those treated with sertraline, whilst there was no significant change on this task for those treated with CBT or the combination. This study found that motor inhibition improved significantly following sertraline monotherapy. Suboptimal sertraline dosing might explain the failure to detect an effect on motor inhibition in the group receiving combination of sertraline + CBT. Higher dose sertraline may have broader cognitive effects than CBT for OCD, motor impulsivity may have value as a measure of treatment outcome and, by extension, the SSRT could serve as a biomarker for personalising care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Clinical Psychopharmacology
Early online date2 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2024

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