Efficacy of a short-term webcam-based telemedicine treatment of internet use disorders (OMPRIS): a multicentre, prospective, single-blind, randomised, clinical trial

OMPRIS Study Group

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Abstract

Background: Evidence-based treatments for internet use disorders (IUDs) are limited, and online therapy approaches are poorly studied. We investigated the efficacy of a manualised therapist-guided online intervention (OMPRIS) to reduce IUD symptoms and improve psychological well-being. Methods: In this multicentre, two-arm, single-blinded trial, individuals ≥16 years suffering from IUD symptoms were recruited in Germany from August 16, 2020, to March 11, 2022, through media advertisements and healthcare providers. Participants were randomly allocated by sequential balancing randomisation (1:1) to either the manualised webcam-based OMPRIS intervention or a waitlist control (WLC) group. OMPRIS provided strategies from motivational interviewing, behavioural therapy, and social counselling. The primary outcome at the end of treatment was a reduction in IUD symptoms as measured by the Assessment of Internet and Computer Scale (AICA-S). Follow-up assessments were conducted at 6 weeks and 6 months. Analyses were performed in the intention-to-treat population. This trial was registered (German Clinical Trial Register, DRKS00019925) and has been completed. Findings: A total of 180 individuals were randomly assigned to the OMPRIS intervention (n = 89) or WLC (n = 91) arm. After treatment, 81 (91.0%) participants in the OMPRIS intervention group and 88 (96.7%) in the WLC group completed the outcome assessment. The ANCOVA model showed that OMPRIS participants had a significantly greater reduction in AICA-S scores from baseline (mean score 12.1 [SD 4.6]) to post-treatment (6.8 [5.2]) than those in the WLC group (from 12.6 [5.1] to 11.0 [5.4]; estimated mean difference −3.9; [95% CI −5.2 to −2.6]; p < 0.0001; d = 0.92). No adverse events were reported to the trial team. Interpretation: Webcam-based OMPRIS therapy was effective and superior to waiting list conditions in reducing IUD symptoms. Webcam-based, specialised online therapy thus increases IUD treatment options. Funding: German Innovation Fund of Germany's Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), grant number 01VSF18043.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102216
JournaleClinicalMedicine
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gaming disorder
  • Internet addiction
  • Internet use disorder
  • Online therapy
  • Telemedicine
  • Treatment

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