Cognitive behavioral therapy versus paroxetine in the treatment of hypochondriasis: an 18-month naturalistic follow-up

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;40(3):487-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2009.06.005. Epub 2009 Jun 28.


Background: The present maintenance study investigated whether the reduction in hypochondriacal complaints after initial treatment with CBT or paroxetine sustained during a follow-up period and whether psychiatric severity at pretest predicted the course of hypochondriacal symptoms.

Method: A naturalistic follow-up period of 18 months after a 16-week RCT consisting of 33 patients initially allocated to a CBT condition and 29 patients to a paroxetine condition. The main outcome measure was the Whiteley Index.

Results: The initial treatment effect of CBT and paroxetine sustained during the follow-up period. No significant differences between CBT and paroxetine were found. Treatment course could not be predicted by psychiatric comorbidity.

Conclusion: CBT and paroxetine are both effective treatments for hypochondriasis in the long term.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / drug therapy
  • Hypochondriasis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine