Information about the cost-effectiveness of early intervention programmes for first-episode psychosis is limited.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an intensive early-intervention programme (called OPUS) (trial registration NCT00157313) consisting of enriched assertive community treatment, psychoeducational family treatment and social skills training for individuals with first-episode psychosis compared with standard treatment.
An incremental cost-effectiveness analysis of a randomised controlled trial, adopting a public sector perspective was undertaken.
The mean total costs of OPUS over 5 years (€123,683, s.e. = 8970) were not significantly different from that of standard treatment (€148,751, s.e. = 13073). At 2-year follow-up the mean Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score in the OPUS group (55.16, s.d. = 15.15) was significantly higher than in standard treatment group (51.13, s.d. = 15.92). However, the mean GAF did not differ significantly between the groups at 5-year follow-up (55.35 (s.d. = 18.28) and 54.16 (s.d. = 18.41), respectively). Cost-effectiveness planes based on non-parametric bootstrapping showed that OPUS was less costly and more effective in 70% of the replications. For a willingness-to-pay up to €50,000 the probability that OPUS was cost-effective was more than 80%.
The incremental cost-effectiveness analysis showed that there was a high probability of OPUS being cost-effective compared with standard treatment.
Health economic evidence of assertive community treatment (ACT) in Denmark is limited. The aim of the study was to assess the costs and outcome of ACT among 174 patients with severe and persistent mental illness in a rural area of Denmark.
The study was based on a quasi-experimental design with a control group from the neighbouring region. Costs and retention in mental health services were analysed by using register data 1 year before and 4 years after inclusion in the study. Data on the use of supportive housing were available for the year before baseline and the subsequent 2 years only.
Seventy eight percent of the patients receiving ACT were in contact with psychiatric services at the 4-year follow-up, while 69% of the patients in the control group had contact with psychiatric services (P
The early phases of psychosis have been hypothesized to constitute a critical period, a window of opportunity. At the same time, the early phases of psychosis are associated with increased risk of unwanted outcome, such as suicidal behaviour and social isolation. This was the background for the emergence of early intervention services, and in Denmark, the OPUS trial was initiated as part of that process.
Modified assertive community treatment, together with family involvement and social skills training, constituted the core elements in the original programme. A total of 547 patients with first-episode psychosis were included in the trial.
To summarize briefly the results of the OPUS trial: the OPUS treatment was superior to standard treatment in reducing psychotic and negative symptoms and substance abuse, in increasing user satisfaction and adherence to treatment, and in reducing use of bed days and days in supported housing. Moreover, relatives included in the OPUS treatment were less strained and had a higher level of knowledge about schizophrenia and higher user satisfaction.
The OPUS treatment was implemented throughout Denmark. Training courses were developed and manuals and books were published. Regional health authorities had access to national grants for implementing early intervention services; as a result, OPUS teams were disseminated throughout the country. The content of the treatment is now further developed, and new elements are being tried out - such as individual placement and support, lifestyle changes, cognitive remediation, specialized treatment for substance abuse and different kinds of user involvement.