Treatment of Functional Bowel Disorders

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00006157
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 9, 2000
Last Update Posted : January 13, 2010
Information provided by:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

August 8, 2000
August 9, 2000
January 13, 2010
July 1996
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Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00006157 on Archive Site
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Treatment of Functional Bowel Disorders
Multicenter Trial of Functional Bowel Disorders

The primary purpose for this study is to compare clinical treatments for patients with functional bowel disorders (irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, painful constipation) in women. We also plan to: 1) determine what clinical features (medical or psychological) determine which patients will improve to these treatments, and 2) understand if there are any physiological features that relate to improvement in symptoms and response to the treatments.

We will compare a psychological treatment (cognitive-behavioral therapy - CBT) with education/attention placebo, and an antidepressant drug (desipramine) with a pill placebo. This is the first large-scale study designed to determine the therapeutic effects of these methods, and to also determine interactions among physiologic measures, psychologic and sociodemographic factors, severity of symptoms, and therapeutic improvement including quality of life.

Female patients (aged 18-65) with FBD (irritable bowel syndrome, painful constipation and/or functional abdominal pain) will be enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill and Toronto, Canada. A severity index will determine recruitment into the group of moderate FBD (200 patients) and severe FBD (100 patients). Each group will be randomized into the three treatment arms (cognitive-behavioral treatment, desipramine, and education/attention placebo), treated over a 12-week period, and followed for one year. Outcome measures will include symptoms (standardized abdominal pain, stool form and frequency) using diary cards, daily functional status (Sickness Impact Profile), depression (HAM-D) and psychological distress (SCL-90), physiological measures (enhanced rectal motility and visceral sensation), and health care use. Multivariate statistical methods with a hierarchical design will be applied to the data to assure maintenance of statistical power over multiple tests of overlapping groups.

The results of this study should significantly improve our understanding of this complicated syndrome that lowers the quality of life and economic productivity of large numbers of women. The clinical impact of the study, in providing physicians with scientific evidence of the efficacy of treatments of FBD that are commonly used in practice, is significant. We anticipate that this study will provide clinicians with predictors of success among types of FBD patients and types of therapy that will improve symptoms and quality of life, and reduce the health care costs associated with this common syndrome while improving patient-physician satisfaction.

Phase 3
Allocation: Randomized
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Functional Colonic Diseases
  • Drug: Desipramine
  • Behavioral: Cognitive Behavioral Treatment
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Same as current
March 2001
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Inclusion Criteria:

  • Literate, female patients aged 18-65.
  • Symptoms present at least 2 days/week for greater than 6 months.
  • Diagnosis of functional bowel disorder (to be subcategorized using ''Rome'' Criteria.
  • Moderate (MFBD) or severe (SFBD) functional bowel disorder (FBD) based on the Functional Bowel Disorder Severity Index (FBDSI) developed in our pilot study. SFBD will be defined as a score of 110 and MFBD will be defined as a score between 36 and 110.
  • Discontinuation of all antidepressant medications for at least 3 months.
  • Use of acceptable method of birth control.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Evidence of lactose intolerance to explain bowel symptoms.
  • Heart disease.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Severe psychiatric disorder (e.g., bipolar, suicide attempts).
  • Previous use of desipramine.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Urinary retention.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Alcohol consumption 3oz/day that would preclude participation or prevent data assessment.
  • Systemic gastrointestinal diseases or previous surgery that would interfere with the interpretation of symptoms or physiology.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Substance abuse/dependency.
  • Previous use of desipramine.
Sexes Eligible for Study: Female
18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Canada,   United States
FBD (completed)
R01DK049334 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
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Principal Investigator: Douglas A. Drossman, M.D. Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Study Chair: William E. Whitehead, PhD Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Study Chair: Brenda Toner, PhD Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Clark Site
Study Chair: Nick Diamant, MD The Toronto Western Hospital
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
January 2010

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP