A review of the Clinical Economics of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Authors Beth A. Hahn ..


Gastroenterologists are increasingly called upon to consider
the clinical economic aspects of disease and intervention
strategies in their medical decision-making. The clinical
economics of IBS have not been comprehensively reviewed
since 1997. The current paper integrates post-1997 findings
on the direct, indirect, and intangible costs of IBS with
earlier research and considers the extent to which knowledge
of the clinical economics of IBS has advanced. The
data show that little progress has been made in quantifying
the direct and indirect costs of IBS in monetary terms.
However, understanding of the impact on patients quality
of life and functional ability has advanced. Recent data are
consistent with previous findings in suggesting that IBS
can significantly impair patients well-being and ability to
function both at home and in the workplace. The magnitude
of impairment of quality of life and functional ability
is related to the severity and/or frequency of bowel symptoms.
New evidence also suggests that psychological symptoms
in IBS predict quality-of-life impairment. Thus, understanding
of some of the clinical economic aspects of IBS
has advanced, although more work is needed. Developing a
solid foundation of clinical economic data regarding IBS
will be particularly important in providing a baseline
against which to evaluate IBS-specific pharmacotherapies
now in development.
Key words: Clinical economics, Quality of life, resource utilization
Special Topics