Dr Nyrop and colleagues from North Carolina, USA provided estimates of actual costs to deliver health care to patients with functional bowel disorders.
The research team assessed the cost impact of symptom severity, recency of onset, and satisfaction with treatment.
|In-patient care accounted for 18% of total costs|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The team enrolled 558 irritable bowel (IBS), 203 constipation, 243 diarrhea and 348 abdominal pain patients.
The patients were recrutied from primary care and gastroenterology clinics at a health maintenance organization within weeks of a visit.
Costs were extracted from administrative claims.
The researchers assessed symptom severity, satisfaction with treatment and out-of-pocket expenses were assessed by questionnaires.
The research team noted that the average age was 52 years, 27% were males, and 59% participated.
The team reported that 80% were seen in primary care clinics.
Mean annual direct health care costs were $5049 for IBS, $6140 for diarrhea, $7522 for constipation and $7646 for abdominal pain.
Annual out-of-pocket expenses averaged $406 for treatment of IBS symptoms, $294 for diarrhea, $390 for constipation and $304 for abdominal pain.
The team found that lower gastrointestinal costs comprised 9% of total costs for IBS, 9% for diarrhea, 7% for constipation and 9% for abdominal pain.
In-patient care accounted for 18% of total costs.
Dr Nyrop's team concluded, "Costs were affected by disease severity, recent exacerbation of bowel symptoms, and whether the patient was consulting for the first time."