Constipation is a multisymptom disorder that frequently compromises quality of life and leads patients to seek medical advice.
Dr Gurkirpal Singh and colleagues from California, USA evaluated the clinical and fiscal effects of constipation, assessing health care resource use by patients with constipation enrolled in a large state Medicaid program.
|The total cost was $2993 per admission for constipation|
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
The team identified 105,130 patients older than age 18 who saw a physician at least once for constipation and were enrolled in the California Medicaid program.
The team then studied health care resource use and costs in 76,854 patients without supplementary insurance.
The 15-month analysis period encompassed 3 months before and 12 months after the first visit.
The prevalence of comorbid conditions was assessed in the sample of 105,130 patients.
The researchers found during the study period, 106,555 physician visits were for constipation.
The total associated cost was $3,016,017, or $39 per patient.
The research team noted that the total cost for gastrointestinal procedures and laboratory testing was $14,052,503, of $183 per patient.
There were 41,723 over-the-counter and 1665 prescription drug purchases, with a total cost was $388,780, or $5 per patient.
The team found that less than 1% of patients were admitted to the hospital for constipation with a total cost of $1,433,708, or $2993 per admission.
The team found the total direct health care costs for patients with constipation in the Medi-Cal system for the 15-month period was $18,891,008, at $246 per patient.
Within 12 months of the first physician visit for constipation, 5657 of 105,130 patients had hemorrhoids, and 2288 had intestinal impaction or obstruction.
Dr Singh's team concluded, "Adults seeking treatment for constipation account for significant health care resource use and often have comorbid conditions."
"The clinical and fiscal burden of constipation in US adults cannot be disregarded or trivialized."