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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Feb;72(2):165-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jul 29.

The role of antidepressants in the management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): a short report on a clinical case-note audit.

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School of Nursing and Midwifery and Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.



This study sought to determine the frequency of use and types of antidepressants used in IBD patients and to collect data with respect to any effect of antidepressants on the course of IBD in a usual care setting.


A case-note audit was conducted at an IBD Service in a public tertiary hospital. Included patients were those diagnosed with IBD by a gastroenterologist; and have had contact with the IBD Service in the last 6months. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the data.


Overall, 313 patients were eligible and 287 had complete data. Overall, 51 (17.8%) patients were currently taking antidepressants and 71 (24.7%) previously received antidepressants. Eighty-three (28.9%) patients had used an antidepressant at some time. In terms of disease activity while on antidepressants, the majority of patients had inactive disease but presented with what were thought by their clinicians to be functional symptoms.


Antidepressants are commonly prescribed in IBD patients. In our cohort, they appear to be mostly used for functional symptoms. The current data do not allow us to judge whether they improve IBD disease activity. Targeted studies are needed to answer this question and to improve practice and patient outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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