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Cognitive Therapy by Phone, Web May Ease Irritable Bowel Symptoms

Mean IBS Symptom Severity Score reduced for telephone-, web-CBT versus treatment as usual

digestive system

TUESDAY, Sept. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) delivered via telephone and web is effective for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published online Sept. 3 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Hazel A. Everitt, Ph.D., from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a three-group randomized trial involving 558 adults with refractory IBS. Participants were randomly assigned to receive therapist-delivered telephone CBT, web-based CBT with minimal therapist support, or treatment as usual (TAU) and were followed for 12 months. Twenty-four-month follow-up was achieved for 323 participants: 119, 99, and 105 in the telephone-CBT, web-CBT, and TAU groups, respectively.

The researchers found that the mean IBS Symptom Severity Score (IBS-SSS) was 40.5 points (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 15.0 to 66.0; P = 0.002) and 12.9 points (95 percent CI, −12.9 to 38.8; P = 0.33) lower in the telephone- and web-CBT groups, respectively, compared with the TAU group. The mean Work and Social Adjustment Scale score was 3.1 points (95 percent CI, 1.3 to 4.9; P < 0.001) and 1.9 points (95 percent CI, 0.1 to 3.7; P = 0.036) lower in the telephone- and web-CBT groups, respectively, versus the TAU group. A clinically significant change in IBS-SSS (≥50 points from baseline to 24 months) occurred in 71, 63, and 46 percent of participants in the telephone-CBT, web-CBT, and TAU groups, respectively.

"Patients with refractory IBS should be offered CBT for IBS, which is currently not widely available," the authors write.

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