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Managing co-morbid depression and anxiety in primary care patients with asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Antoinette M Pommer, François Pouwer*, Johan Denollet and Victor JM Pop

Author Affiliations

Department of Medical Psychology & Neuropsychology, Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University, (Warandelaan), Tilburg, (P.O. Box 90153), The Netherlands

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Trials 2012, 13:6  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-6

Published: 11 January 2012



Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are common chronic diseases that are frequently accompanied by depression and/or anxiety. However, symptoms of depression and anxiety are often not recognized and therefore not treated. Currently, only a few studies have tested new clinical approaches that could improve the treatment of co-morbid depression and anxiety in these groups of patients.


The present randomized controlled study will be conducted within the framework of PoZoB (Praktijk Ondersteuning Zuid-Oost Brabant), a large primary care organization in the Netherlands. Patients with asthma/COPD and co-morbid anxiety/depression will be included in order to test the effectiveness of a disease management approach to treat these co-morbid disorders. Important elements of this approach are: 1) systematic screening to improve detection of anxiety and depression 2) treatment in case of positive screening 3) monitoring of anxiety and depression 4) intensified treatment in case of non-remission (stepped care).


The present study is a large primary care study on the treatment of co-morbid depression and anxiety in patients with asthma and COPD. Strengths of this study are its randomized design, the focus on implementation in primary care and the fact that it applies the latest findings on the treatment of depression and anxiety. First results are expected in 2012/2013.

Trial registration

Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR2626

Asthma; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Anxiety; Depression; Collaborative Care; Disease Management; Primary Care