Despite its high prevalence, cancer-related insomnia typically remains untreated because of a lack of access to cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), the treatment of choice for this condition. While face-to-face CBT-I appears to be optimal in terms of efficacy, self-administered formats may be more cost-effective. The goal of this secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial was to compare the cost-effectiveness of a professionally-based CBT-I (PCBT-I) to that of a video-based CBT-I (VCBT-I).

A total of 161 women with breast cancer received six weekly, individual CBT-I sessions (PCBT-I; n = 81) or a 60-min animated video + 6 short booklets (VCBT-I; n = 80). Participants completed the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and provided information to calculate treatment costs.

Total per patient treatment costs were 5.5 times greater for PCBT-I ($1298.90) than VCBT-I ($234.36; p<.0001). Both at posttreatment and 3-month follow-up, the ISI reduction was greater in PCBT-I than VCBT-I, but these differences were not significant (p=.09 and p=.24, respectively). In contrast, the cost-effectiveness ratio was significantly more advantageous for VCBT-I than PCBT-I. Compared to VCBT-I, each reduction of 1 unit on the ISI produced by PCBT-I was associated with a treatment cost that was significantly greater at posttreatment ($186.95 CAD vs. $44.87 CAD; p=.001) and follow-up ($154.76 vs. $24.97, p=.005).

Although CBT-I is slightly less efficacious when self-administered, it constitutes a much more cost-effective alternative than face-to-face CBT-I and represents an extremely valuable option in settings where monetary and human resources required to administer CBT-I are not available or sufficient.


Source: Savard J, et al. Video cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia in cancer patients: A cost-effective alternative. Psycho-Oncology. 2020 Aug 25. doi: 10.1002/pon.5532. Epub ahead of print.