Effectiveness of psychosomatic therapy for patients with persistent somatic symptoms: Results from the CORPUS randomised controlled trial in primary care

Margreet S.H. Wortman, Johannes C. van der Wouden, Jos W.R. Twisk, Bart Visser, Willem J.J. Assendelft, Henriëtte E. van der Horst, Tim C. Olde Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

83 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective
To evaluate the effectiveness of psychosomatic therapy versus care as usual in primary care for patients with persistent somatic symptoms (PSS).

Methods
We conducted a pragmatic, two-armed, randomised controlled trial among primary care patients with PSS in the Netherlands that included 39 general practices and 34 psychosomatic therapists. The intervention, psychosomatic therapy, consisted of 6–12 sessions delivered by specialised exercise- and physiotherapists. Primary outcome measure: patient's level of functioning. Secondary outcomes: severity of physical and psychosocial symptoms, health-related quality of life, health-related anxiety, illness behaviour and number of GP contacts.

Results
Compared to usual care (n = 85), the intervention group (n = 84) showed no improvement in patient's level of functioning (mean difference − 0.50 [95% CI -1.10 to 0.10]; p = .10), and improvement in health-related anxiety (mean difference − 1.93 [95% CI -3.81 to −0.04]; p = .045), over 12 months. At 5-month follow-up, we found improvement in physical functioning, somatisation, and health-related anxiety. The 12-month follow-up revealed no therapy effects. Subgroup analyses showed an overall effect in patient's level of functioning for the group with moderate PSS (mean difference − 0.91 [95% CI -1.78 to −0.03]; p = .042). In the year after the end of therapy, the number of GP contacts did not differ significantly between the two groups.

Conclusion
We only found effects on some secondary outcome measures, and on our primary outcome measure especially in patients with moderate PSS, the psychosomatic therapy appears promising for further study.

Trial registration: the trial is registered in the Netherlands Trial Registry, https://trialsearch.who.int/Trial2.aspx?TrialID=NTR7356 under ID NTR7356.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111178
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume167
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of psychosomatic therapy for patients with persistent somatic symptoms: Results from the CORPUS randomised controlled trial in primary care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this