Cost-effectiveness of internet-based cognitive behavior therapy for irritable bowel syndrome: results from a randomized controlled trial

Andersson, Erik; Ljótsson, Brjánn; Smit, Filip; Paxling, Björn; Hedman, Erik; Lindefors, Nils; Andersson, Gerhard; Rück, Christian
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p215
Academic Journal
Background: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is highly prevalent and is associated with a substantial economic burden. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective in treating IBS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a new treatment alternative, internet-delivered CBT based on exposure and mindfulness exercises. Methods: Participants (N = 85) with IBS were recruited through self-referral and were assessed via a telephone interview and self-report measures on the internet. Participants were randomized to internet-delivered CBT or to a discussion forum. Economic data was assessed at pre-, post- and at 3-month and 1 year follow-up. Results: Significant cost reductions were found for the treatment group at $16,806 per successfully treated case. The cost reductions were mainly driven by reduced work loss in the treatment group. Results were sustained at 3-month and 1 year follow-up. Conclusions: Internet-delivered CBT appears to generate health gains in IBS treatment and is associated with costsavings from a societal perspective.


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