What do antidepressants and psychotherapy have to do with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? According to an article from Reuters Health Information, published on Medscape Today, they should be included as important options by sources concerned with IBS. Antidepressants and psychological therapies both appeared to help about one in four people.
This held true even if the person was already taking an antidepressant for depression without any apparent effect on depressive symptoms. Earlier studies were inconclusive about antidepressants and psychotherapy for IBS. Lead researcher, Dr. Alex C. Ford, from McMaster University Medical Center, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada told Reuters that, “The take-home message for clinicians…should be to consider using antidepressants for people who fail first-line therapy, and psychological therapies for those with resistant symptoms (i.e., failed more than one therapy).”
In the study, published in the gastroenterology journal Gut, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants both appeared to work, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) seemed to work best of the psychotherapies. Antidepressants alone may have a slightly higher rate of effectiveness since some errors were found in the studies measuring psychotherapy effectiveness, according to the study, but the researchers point out that the data suggests a similar outcome with psychotherapy.
Thirty-two randomized control trials were reviewed and analyzed, of 571 citations. Nineteen compared psychological therapies, such as CBT, relaxation therapy and hypnotherapy, with control therapy or standard treatment. Twelve studies looked at antidepressants versus a placebo. One compared both antidepressants and psychotherapy with placebo. The review and meta-analysis included about 800 adults with IBS.
- Ford, A.C., Talley, N.J., Schoenfeld, P.S., Quigley, E.M.M., and Moayyedi, P. Efficacy of antidepressants and psychological therapies in irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis, Gut. 2009;58:367-378: Internet source at http://gut.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/58/3/367
- Rauscher, M. Antidepressants, psychotherapy seen effective for irritable bowel syndrome. Reuters Health Information on Medscape Today. Internet source at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/588831?src=rss
© Copyright 2009 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW, therapist in Seattle, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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