Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 19, 2022
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Group-based education improves symptom management, quality of life in celiac disease

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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A group-based education program improved gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life among patients with celiac disease, according to research published in BMC Gastroenterology.

“Complete elimination of gluten from the diet is the only available treatment [for celiac disease]. Non-adherence to a gluten free diet (GFD) leads to a reduction in quality of life and worsening of symptoms. However, strict compliance to this diet can be difficult,” Zahra Akbari Namvar, of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, and colleagues wrote. “Individual education provided by an expert dietitian is usual care of these patients. ... Group-based education is another method of nutrition education. This method provides more detailed information and support from other patients who experience the same condition and promotes discussions about patients’ problems.”

Namvar and colleagues examined the effect of group-based education vs. individualized education for improved symptom management and quality of life (QOL) in 130 patients with celiac disease who had been on a GFD for at least 3 months. Following randomization, 66 patients received group-based education and 64 patients received routine education in a celiac clinic for 3 months. Researchers used the GI symptom rating scale (GSRS) and SF-36 questionnaires to assess GI symptoms and QOL at baseline and 3 months post-intervention.

According to study results, patients in the intervention group had significantly lower mean GSRS scores compared with the control group (P = .04) at the 3-month evaluation, as well as significantly lower mean abdominal pain scores (P = .04).

The SF-36 yielded similar improvements in QOL, with increased mean mental component summary (MCS) scores (P <.001) and physical component summary scores (P = .03) in the intervention group after 3 months. ANCOVA test results showed a higher mean post-intervention MCS among the intervention group compared with the control group (P = .02).

“Group-based education had statistically significant effects on improving GI symptoms as well as QOL compared with routine education. Thus, in term of celiac disease, in addition to the individual education program, a group-based education program should also conduct to increase the patients’ adherence to GFD and consequently improve their symptoms and increase their QOL,” Namvar and colleagues concluded. “More studies with longer durations of follow-up and using disease-specific questionnaires and assessing the patients’ subjective feedback about the method of education are needed to prove these results.”