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NICE suggests CBT for irritable bowel

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome are to join the queue of those waiting for psychological therapies.

Draft guidance from NICE advises that patients who do not respond to 12-months of first-line therapies and who develop a continuing symptom profile couild be considered for cognitive behaviour therapy.

The recommendation follows evidence from an NHS Health Technology Assessment that CBT delivered by practice nurses could be effective in treating IBS.

But Professor Roger Jones, founding president of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, and one of the authors of the HTA study, criticised the draft guidance for recommending delayed use of CBT.

He said: 'The sooner, the better. I don't agree with CBT being administered after a year. There is no drug to treat IBS so any form of earlier behavioural therapy will be beneficial for the patient.'

The guidelines also recomment prescribing antispasmodic agents as required, and giving dietary and lifestyle advice.

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