BackgroundThe primary objective of this randomised controlled trial (RCT) is to establish the effectiveness of a novel online quality of life (QoL) intervention tailored for people with late stage (≥ 10 episodes) bipolar disorder (BD) compared with psychoeducation. Relative to early stage individuals, this late stage group may not benefit as much from existing psychosocial treatments. The intervention is a guided self-help, mindfulness based intervention (MBI) developed in consultation with consumers, designed specifically for web-based delivery, with email coaching support.
Methods/designThis international RCT will involve a comparison of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two 5-week adjunctive online self-management interventions: Mindfulness for Bipolar 2.0 and an active control (Psychoeducation for Bipolar). A total of 300 participants will be recruited primarily via social media channels. Main inclusion criteria are: a diagnosis of BD (confirmed via a phone-administered structured diagnostic interview), no current mood episode, history of 10 or more mood episodes, no current psychotic features or active suicidality, under the care of a medical practitioner. Block randomisation will be used for allocation to the interventions, and participants will retain access to the program for 6 months. Evaluations will be conducted at pre- and post- treatment, and at 3- and 6- months follow-up. The primary outcome measure will be the Brief Quality of Life in Bipolar Disorder Scale (Brief QoL.BD), collected immediately post-intervention at 5 weeks (T1). Secondary measures include BD-related symptoms (mania, depression, anxiety, stress), time to first relapse, functioning, sleep quality, social rhythm stability and resource use. Measurements will be collected online and via telephone assessments at baseline (T0), 5 weeks (T1), three months (T2) and six months (T3). Candidate moderators (diagnosis, anxiety or substance comorbidities, demographics and current treatments) will be investigated as will putative therapeutic mechanisms including mindfulness, emotion regulation and self-compassion. A cost-effectiveness analysis will be conducted. Acceptability and any unwanted events (including adverse treatment reactions) will be documented and explored.
DiscussionThis definitive trial will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel QoL focused, mindfulness based, online guided self-help intervention for late stage BD, and investigate its putative mechanisms of therapeutic action.
Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov : NCT03197974 . Registered 23 June 2017.