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Short- and Long- Term Efficacy of Psychological Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background & Aims

Several meta-analyses have demonstrated the efficacy of psychological therapies for reducing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, no meta-analysis has investigated the duration of these effects. We performed a meta-analysis to assess the immediate, short-term, and long-term efficacy of psychotherapy for reducing GI symptoms in adults with IBS.

Methods

We searched PubMed, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses through August 15th 2015 for randomized controlled trials that compared psychological therapy to an active or non-active comparison condition (controls) for treatment of GI symptoms in adults with IBS.

Results

Forty-one trials were included in our meta-analysis, comprising data from 2290 individuals (1183 assigned to psychotherapy and 1107 assigned to a control condition). Compared to a mixed group of control conditions, psychological therapies had a medium effect on GI symptom severity immediately after treatment. On average, individuals who received psychotherapy had a greater reduction in GI symptoms following treatment than 75% of individuals assigned to a control condition. After short-term follow-up periods (1–6 months after treatment) and long-term follow-up periods (6–12 months after treatment), this effect remained significant and medium in magnitude.

Conclusions

Psychological therapies reduce GI symptoms in adults with IBS. These effects remained significant and medium in magnitude after short- and long-term follow-up periods.

Source:  Kelsey T. Laird, Emily E. Tanner-Smith, Alexandra C. Russell, Steve D. Hollon, Lynn S. Walker. Short- and Long- Term Efficacy of Psychological Therapies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2015 Dec 22. pii: S1542-3565(15)01706-1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2015.11.020. [Epub ahead of print]

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