Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic insomnia (CBT-i) is the treatment of choice for this condition but is underutilized in patients who attend primary care. The purpose of the present feasibility-pilot study was to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a cluster-randomized study of CBT-i in a primary care setting.
This study, performed at two primary health care centers in Majorca, Spain, was a mixed methods feasibility-pilot study of a parallel cluster-randomized design comparing CBT-i and usual care (UC). Patients were included if they were 18 to 65 years-old; had diagnoses of chronic insomnia according to the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI ≥ 8); had insomnia for more than 3 months. Twenty-five GPs and nurses and 32 patients were randomly allocated to two groups. The main outcome of the intervention was improvement of dimensions of sleep quality, measured using the Spanish version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, at baseline and at 3 months after the intervention. Other primary outcomes of the study were the feasibility and applicability of the intervention, collected through nominal groups. A thematic analysis was performed to classify primary care provider (PCP) proposals. Additionally, we assessed the recruitment process, compliance with the intervention sessions, and patient retention.
We adapted the CBT-i approach of Morin to a primary care context. After intervention training, PCPs expressed the need for more extensive training in the different aspects of the therapy and the discussion of more cases. PCPs considered the intervention as adequate but wanted fewer but longer sessions as well as to discard the cognitive restructuring component. PCPs considered it crucial to prepare each session in advance and to establish a specific agenda for the CBT-i. Regular reminders given to PCPs and patients were suggested to improve study participation. Compared to the UC group, higher proportions of patients in the intervention group had short sleep latency, slept for longer than 5 h, and had fewer sleep disruptions.
This feasibility-pilot study identified several key issues that must be addressed before performing a CBT-i intervention in future clinical trial in a primary care setting.
NCT04565223 . (Clinical Registered 1 September 2020-Retrospectively registered.