Cognitive-behavioural therapy for the management of inflammatory bowel disease-fatigue: A feasibility randomised controlled trial

Micol Artom, Wladyslawa Czuber-Dochan, Jackie Sturt, Hannah Proudfoot, Danniella Roberts, Christine Norton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Fatigue is the third most prevalent symptom for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), yet optimal strategies for its management are unclear. Treatment protocols for fatigue in other conditions have been based on cognitive-behavioural models. Targeting cognitions, emotions and behaviour related to fatigue through cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) may be a viable option to improve fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in IBD. Methods: This single centre, two-arm, feasibility randomised controlled trial (RCT) aimed to assess the feasibility and initial estimates of potential efficacy of a CBT intervention for the management of IBD-fatigue. Feasibility, acceptability and initial estimates of potential efficacy outcomes were collected through self-report measures and semi-structured interviews. Participants were recruited from one tertiary referral centre. Intervention Group 1 received a CBT manual for fatigue, one 60-min and seven 30-min telephone sessions with a therapist over 8-weeks. Control Group 2 received a fatigue information sheet without therapist support. A nested qualitative study evaluated patients' and therapists' experiences, and IBD-healthcare professionals' (HCPs) perceptions of the intervention. Results: Eighty-nine participants were assessed for eligibility. Of these, 31 of the 70 eligible participants consented to participate (recruitment rate of 44%). Of the 15 participants randomised to the intervention group, 13 (87%) started it and 10 (77% of those who started) completed all 8 sessions. Follow-up questionnaires were completed by 22 (71%) participants at 3 months, 14 (45%) at 6 months and 12 (39%) at 12 months' follow-up. The intervention was acceptable to participants and feasible for therapists to deliver. HCPs reported that the intervention would be applicable, but time, finance and training constraints limit its implementation. Initial estimates of potential efficacy with complete case analysis showed a reduction in fatigue and an increase in QoL at 3, 6 and 12 months post-randomisation. Conclusions: A full-scale effectiveness RCT testing CBT for IBD-fatigue is feasible and is potentially worthwhile with some changes to the protocol. However, given the small numbers, further pilot work is warranted before a full-scale RCT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


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