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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Aids Irritable Bowel Symptoms

TUESDAY, April 23, 2019 -- Both telephone-delivered and web-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can significantly improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, according to a study published online April 10 in Gut.

Hazel Anne Everitt, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., from Southampton University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned 558 patients (76 percent female; 91 percent white; mean age, 43 years) with refractory IBS (clinically significant symptoms for ≥12 months despite first-line therapies) to telephone-delivered CBT (TCBT), web-based CBT (WCBT) with minimal therapist support, and treatment as usual (TAU).

The researchers found that compared with TAU at 12 months, the IBS Symptom Severity Score (IBS-SSS) was 61.6 points lower in TCBT and 35.2 points lower in WCBT. For the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS), scores were 3.5 points lower in TCBT and 3.0 points lower in WCBT compared with TAU at 12 months. All secondary outcomes (IBS-SSS and WSAS at three and six months after randomization; mood and symptom relief; and ability to cope with symptoms at three, six, and 12 months) showed significantly greater improvement in the CBT arms versus TAU.

"The fact that both telephone- and web-based CBT sessions were shown to be effective treatments is a really important and exciting discovery," Everitt said in a statement. "Patients are able to undertake these treatments at a time convenient to them, without having to travel to clinics."

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Posted: April 2019

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