Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional abdominal pain (syndrome) (FAP(S)) are two prevalent pediatric illnesses marked by recurrent or chronic abdominal pain. Treatment can be difficult, especially for children who have persistent symptoms. Gut-directed hypnotherapy (HT) administered by a therapist is effective in these children. However, it is still out of reach for many due to costs, a scarcity of qualified child-hypnotherapists, and the fact that it requires a significant time commitment from both the child and the parent(s). Home-based hypnosis using CD exercises has also been proven successful, and it offers potential advantages such as reduced prices and less time commitment. The purpose of a randomized controlled study (RCT) was to assess the cost-effectiveness of individual HT conducted by a qualified therapist with HT performed at home using CD-recorded self-exercises in children with IBS or FAP (S). For this study, 260 children aged 8 to 18 with IBS or FAP(S) according to Rome III criteria are enrolled, with a one-year follow-up duration. Children are randomly assigned to either 6 individual HT sessions with a licensed therapist over 3 months of self-exercises at home with a CD.
The primary outcome was the proportion of patients whose treatment is successful at the end of treatment and after a year of follow-up. Treatment success was defined as a 50% reduction in stomach discomfort frequency and intensity. Affordability, cost-effectiveness, and the effects of both therapy on depression and anxiety scores, somatization scores, QoL, pain beliefs, and coping techniques are secondary objectives. Because of its low costs and direct availability, home-based HT with CD may become an attractive therapy method in children with IBS or FAP(S) if its effectiveness is comparable to, or just slightly lower than, HT by a therapist.