Solution focused therapy: A promising new tool in the management of fatigue in Crohn's disease patients

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Background: Crohn's disease patients have a decreased Quality of Life (QoL) which is in part due to extreme fatigue. In a pilot study we prospectively assessed the feasibility and effect of psychological interventions in the management of fatigue.

Methods: Patients with quiescent Crohn's disease and a high fatigue score according to the Checklist Individual Strength were randomized to Problem Solving Therapy (PST), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) or to a control group (treatment as usual, TAU). Patients completed the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire, the EuroQol-5D, and the Trimbos questionnaire for Costs.

Results: Twenty-nine patients were included (12 TAU, 9 PST, 8 SFT), of these 72% were female, mean age was 31 years (range 20–50). The SFT group improved on the fatigue scale in 85.7% of the patients, in the PST group 60% showed improved fatigue scores and in the TAU group 45.5%.

Although not significant, in both intervention groups the QoL increased. Medical costs lowered in 57.1% of the patients in the SFT group, in the TAU 45.5% and the in PST group 20%. The drop out rate was highest in the PST group (44%; SFT 12.5%; TAU 8.3%).

Conclusions: PST and SFT both positively affect the fatigue and QoL scores in patients with Crohn's disease. SFT seems most feasible with fewer dropouts and is therefore a promising new tool in the management of fatigue in Crohn's disease patients.

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