Fatigue management in patients with IBD: a randomised controlled trial

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the effectiveness of solution-focused therapy (SFT) on fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in patients with fatigued inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Design

Randomised controlled trial in two Dutch hospitals. Patients with IBD with quiescent IBD and with a Checklist Individual Strength—Fatigue (CIS—fatigue) score of ≥35 were enrolled. Patients were 1:1 randomised to receive SFT or care as usual (CAU) for 3 months. Patients were followed for a further 6 months after the SFT. Primary endpoint was defined as changes in fatigue and QoL during follow-up. Secondary endpoints included change in anxiety and depression, medication use, side effects to medication, disease activity, laboratory parameters (C-reactive protein, leucocytes and haemoglobin) and sleep quality.

Results

Ninety-eight patients were included, of whom 63% were women, mean age was 40.1 years. After the SFT course, 17 (39%) patients in the SFT group had a CIS-fatigue score below 35 compared with eight (18%) of patients in the CAU group (p=0.03). The SFT group also showed a greater reduction in fatigue across the first 6 months compared with the CAU group (CIS-fatigue: p=<0.001 and CIS-total: p=0.001).

Results

SFT was associated with a significant higher mean IBD questionnaire change at 3 months (p=0.020). At 9 months, no significant differences between the two groups were observed.

Conclusions

SFT has a significant beneficial effect on the severity of fatigue and QoL in patients with quiescent IBD. However, this effect diminished during follow-up.

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