Integrated medical-psychiatric outpatient care in functional gastrointestinal disorders improves outcome: A pilot study

Joanna Kruimel*, Carsten Leue, Bjorn Winkens, Dagmar Marcus, Sam Schoon, Romy Dellink, Jim Van Os, Ad Masclee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives Functional gastrointestinal disorders have a multifactorial etiology, including somatic and psychosocial factors. We provide multidisciplinary outpatient consultations by a gastroenterologist and a psychiatrist using an integrated approach toward somatic and psychosocial factors in complex functional gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of this approach assessing gastrointestinal and psychiatric symptoms and quality of life. Methods All patients with complex functional gastrointestinal disorders visiting for consultation were included and treated with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or both, or given advice for treatment in their own region. Questionnaires testing gastrointestinal and psychiatric symptoms, and quality of life at first visit and after 6 and 12 months were completed. Results A total of 124 patients were included (70% women, mean age 48 years): 57% were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and about 80% had a psychiatric diagnosis (50% anxiety disorder, 20% mood disorder). Of the patients, 57% were treated with antidepressants and psychotherapy, 6% with psychotherapy alone, and 38% received advice for treatment in their own region. After 1 year, patients showed significant improvement in all questionnaires, with the exception of those testing gastrointestinal symptoms, although there were significant improvements in these at 6 months. Conclusion This is the first prospective study on the efficacy of an integrated medical-psychiatric outpatient care model in patients with complex functional gastrointestinal disorders, showing significant improvement in gastrointestinal and psychiatric symptoms as well as quality of life after 6 months. With the exception of improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms, improvement persisted at the 1-year follow-up. This indicates that longer follow-up focusing on gastrointestinal symptoms may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-727
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • psychosomatic


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