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Surveys detail high cost of irritable bowel. (More Doctor Visits, Missed Work).

SEATTLE -- The heavy burden imposed by irritable bowel syndrome was underscored by two national patient surveys presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

Mugdha Gore, Ph.D., reported that among patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), each had spent an average of $258 for the CI disorder in the past 3 months. And 81% were on at least three therapies: one prescription, one OTC, and one alternative. Moreover, 43% of the patients were taking at least two agents from each of these three classes for their IBS, added Dr. Gore of Philadelphia.

In a study conducted for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, she mailed a detailed questionnaire to 1,340 members of the Intestinal Disease Foundation, a national patient advocacy group. The response rate was 49%, and 65% of the respondents had IBS by Rome II criteria.

Of the participants with IBS, 97% had two or more IBS-related office and/or telephone consults with a physician during the last 3 months; 75% had four or more consults in that time.

Among employed IBS patients, 39% said their GI disorder caused them to miss work during the past 3 months. They averaged 6 missed days during that period and attributed an additional 16 days of decreased work productivity to IBS. And 90% said that IBS limited their ability to perform important daily activities.

Bonnie Dean, Ph.D., reported on another IBS survey conducted for Novartis, involving 1,817 employees of a large bank in several states. Of those surveyed, 44% met Rome II criteria for IBS during the previous 12 months, an unusually high prevalence attributable to selection bias.

Workers with IBS reported missing 2.2% of work time because of absenteeism caused by GI problems, compared with 0.5% among other employees. Those with IBS self-reported a 20% reduction in work productivity attributed to GI problems, vs. 6% among other employees, said Dr. Dean of Los Angeles.
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Author:Jancin, Bruce
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Words:318
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