Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Aug;6(8):899-906. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2008.03.004. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

Self-administered cognitive behavior therapy for moderate to severe irritable bowel syndrome: clinical efficacy, tolerability, feasibility.

Author information

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, New York, USA.



Given the limitations of conventional therapies and restrictions imposed on newer pharmacologic agents, there is an urgent need to develop efficacious and efficient treatments that teach patients behavioral self-management skills for relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and associated problems.


Seventy-five Rome II diagnosed IBS patients (86% female) without comorbid gastrointestinal disease were recruited from local physicians and the community and randomized to either 2 versions of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) (10-session, therapist-administered CBT vs 4-session, patient-administered CBT) or a wait list control (WLC) that controlled for threats to internal validity. Final assessment occurred 2 weeks after the 10-week treatment phase ended. Outcome measures included adequate relief from pain and bowel symptoms, global improvement of IBS symptoms (CGI-Improvement Scale), IBS symptom severity scale (IBS SSS), quality of life (IBSQOL), psychological distress (Brief Symptom Inventory), and patient satisfaction (Client Satisfaction Scale).


At week 12, both CBT versions were significantly (P < .05) superior to WLC in the percentage of participants reporting adequate relief (eg, minimal contact CBT, 72%; standard CBT, 60.9%; WLC, 7.4%) and improvement of symptoms. CBT-treated patients reported significantly improved quality of life and IBS symptom severity but not psychological distress relative to WLC patients (P < .0001).


Data from this pilot study lend preliminary empirical support to a brief patient-administered CBT regimen capable of providing short-term relief from IBS symptoms largely unresponsive to conventional therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center