BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nearly one-third of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) who underwent a novel behavior treatment developed by a University at Buffalo behavioral scientist achieved significant relief within four weeks of beginning treatment.
These patients, called "rapid responders" maintained their improvement at a three-month follow-up, despite reporting more severe IBS symptoms when they started the treatment.
Results also showed that the amount of "face time" spent with a therapist during the 10-week treatment regimen didn't have an effect on rapid response.
The study is published in the current issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
"These results are important, because conventional wisdom states that benefit from behavioral treatments is tied to the amount of treatment patients receive," says first author Jeffrey Lackner, PsyD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and director of its Behavioral Medicine Clinic.
"In some patients this assumption does not prove to be true," he continues. "Regardless of whether patients received two or four sessions of behavioral treatment, a significant proportion rapidly achieved significant relief of severe IBS symptoms and maintained these gains for at least three months."
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic, debilitating disorder affecting 25 million people in the U.S. -- 14-24 percent of women and 5-19 percent of men. In the past, there had been no reliable, satisfactory medical treatment for the full range of IBS symptoms, which can cause severe physical and psychological distress and deprive sufferers of their quality of life.
Lackner is principal investigator on an $8.9 million, seven-year, multi-site clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to test the treatment, which proved effective during his pilot study. The
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