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CBT Rapid Responders More Likely Maintain Gains in IBS

Many who undergo cognitive behavior therapy have fast response, sustain symptom reduction

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Many irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients who undergo cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) experience a positive response within four weeks, and these rapid responders are more likely to maintain their treatment gains than those who do not have a rapid response, according to a study in the May issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Jeffrey M. Lackner, of the State University of New York in Buffalo, and colleagues randomized 71 subjects with IBS, aged 18 to 70, to receive CBT consisting of either 10 weekly one-hour sessions or four one-hour sessions over 10 weeks, or to be on a wait list control. The investigators assessed the rapidity of response in terms of adequate relief of pain, adequate relief of bowel symptoms, and a decrease in total IBS severity scores at four weeks.

The investigators found that 29.6 percent of the patients who got CBT were rapid responders, with the rapid responder rates similar for the 10- and four-session protocols. Rapid responders had more severe IBS symptoms at baseline, but they had greater and more sustained symptom reduction than those who weren't rapid responders. The average reduction of IBS severity score total at week four was 132.5 points for the rapid responders compared to 19.7 for the non-rapid responders. Further, 90 to 95 percent of rapid responders maintained their gains at three-month follow-up.

"A significant proportion of IBS patients treated with CBT have a positive response within four weeks of treatment; these patients are more likely to maintain treatment gains than patients without a rapid response. A rapid response is not contingent on the amount of face-to-face contact with a clinician," the authors write.

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