12/06/07 03:09 PM
Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Effective for Persistent IBS in Children

Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy Effective for Persistent IBS in Children

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 19 - Gut-directed hypnotherapy is "highly effective" for children with longstanding functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), clinicians from the Netherlands report in the November issue of Gastroenterology.

Given that gut-directed hypnotherapy is effective for adults with IBS, Dr. Arine M. Vlieger of St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, and colleagues tested its value in children. They randomly assigned 53 children, aged 8 to 18 years, with functional abdominal pain or IBS to hypnotherapy, 6 sessions over 3 months, or standard medical care plus 6 sessions of supportive therapy (control).

Dr. Vlieger and colleagues report that gut-directed hypnotherapy was "highly superior" to standard medical care, yielding a significantly greater reduction in pain scores (p < 0.001) recorded in weekly standardized abdominal pain diaries.

Specifically, at 1 year follow-up, pain intensity scores had deceased from 13.5 to 1.3 in the hypnotherapy group and from 14.1 to 8.0 in the control group.

"At 1 year, successful treatment was accomplished in 85% of the hypnotherapy group and 25% of the standard medical care group (p < 0.001), Dr. Vlieger and colleagues report.

"We advocate that hypnotherapy become the treatment of choice in children with persisting complaints of either functional abdominal pain or IBS in whom first-line therapies such as education and dietary advice have failed," they write.

The team suggests further studies be conducted to see whether hypnotherapy might also be a treatment option for children with other functional gastrointestinal disorders.

Gastroenterology 2007;133:1430-1436.


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