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SLaM supports trials to improve the treatment of young people with OCD

South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust : 22 February, 2011  (Company News)
An Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Service for children and adolescents run by SLaM is currently running two innovative trials to help improve the treatment of young people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
The national and specialist service claims to be the only service of its kind in the UK offering assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with OCD and related conditions, including body dysmorphic disorder, tic disorders, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety and habit disorders, including trichotillomania.

The OCD service assesses and treats young people with complicated or unusual OCD from all over the United Kingdom. Many of these children receive their treatment through taking part in ongoing treatment studies.

SLaM’s OCD team is keen to receive telephone or referrals enquiries in relation to two treatment trials, both of which offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the current best practice treatment for OCD in children, adolescents and adults.

Dr Isobel Heyman, Head of SLaM’s OCD Service said the trials will help improve treatment for young people with OCD.

“Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the first choice treatment for children and adolescents with OCD. However, studies in adults have shown that people with OCD can benefit from appropriate medication, in conjunction with therapy,” Dr Heyman explained.

“The trials currently being undertaken by my team will hopefully expand best practice treatment for OCD in children and adolescents, and help both our patients and other children and families experiencing OCD.”

SLaM’s OCD service is conducting two different trials one looking at CBT over the telephone, and the other exploring the benefits of the drug D-Cycloserine.

The OCD Service is currently running a trial comparing CBT carried out over the telephone with standard face-to-face CBT. Treatment involves 14 weekly CBT sessions with a specialist therapist either at the clinic or over the telephone (random allocation).

It is expected that the two formats of CBT will work equally well, and by demonstrating this the service will be able to offer telephone CBT to more families in the future, enabling more young people to access the best treatment for their OCD. This will be especially important for young people and families from London and major cities.

The second trial taking place is investigating whether the efficiency of CBT for OCD can be enhanced when combined with a drug called D-Cycloserine. This drug has been shown to enhance CBT outcomes in adults by speeding up the process in which people become less afraid of their feared stimulus.

Treatment involves 14 weekly CBT sessions with a specialist therapist at SLaM's clinic. In addition to CBT, half the participants will receive D-Cycloserine after their therapy sessions, and half will receive a placebo sugar pill (random allocation).

Both trials may be suitable for any young person with OCD who:

- is aged 11 to 18 years

- would like treatment for their OCD

- does not have a significant learning disability or autism.

SLaM’s child and adolescent OCD service also assesses and treats OCD-related anxiety disorders in young people with a developmental disorder, for example high functioning autism spectrum disorders or neurological conditions

The service provides a range of evidence-based care packages tailored to meet the needs of the young person and their parents or carers. Many of the young people we see are offered individual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which may involve parents or carers and other family members.

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