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

BMC Public Health. 2011 Apr 7;11:215. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-215.

Abstract

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 cost-savings from a societal perspective.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / economics*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Employment / economics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / economics
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult