Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Type Symptoms in Patients with Quiescent Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Many inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] patients in remission have persisting symptoms, compatible with irritable bowel syndrome [IBS-type symptoms]. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of gut-directed hypnotherapy vs standard medical treatment [SMT] for IBS-type symptoms in IBD patients. METHODS: In this multicentre, randomized, controlled, open-label trial, patients aged 12-65 years with IBD in clinical remission [global assessment] and biochemical remission [faecal calprotectin ≤100 µg/g, or ≤200 µg/g without inflammation at endoscopy] with IBS according to Rome III criteria were randomized to hypnotherapy or SMT. Primary outcome was the proportion with ≥50% reduction on a visual analog scale for symptom severity, as measured with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Severity Scoring System [IBS-SSS] at week 40 [i.e. 6 months after finishing the intervention], compared to baseline. Secondary outcomes included total IBS-SSS score, quality of life, adequate relief, IBS-related cognitions, and depression and anxiety scores. RESULTS: Eighty patients were included, of whom 70 received at least one session of the allocated treatment and were included in the modified intention-to-treat-population. Seven patients were excluded because of missing baseline data required for the primary outcome. The primary outcome was met in nine [27%] of 33 patients randomized to SMT and nine [30%] of 30 patients randomized to hypnotherapy [p = 0.81]. Adequate relief was reported in 60% and 40% of subjects, respectively. Exploratory analyses of secondary outcomes revealed no apparent differences between the two treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Hypnotherapy was not superior to SMT in the treatment of IBS-type symptoms in IBD patients. Both treatment strategies are reasonable options from a clinical perspective.