Functional patients are the largest group in gastroenterology practice. However, pharmacological therapy of irritable bowel syndrome is disappointing.
A proposed treatment strategy for irritable bowel syndrome emphasizes the physician's role. In this strategy the physician is promoted as the therapeutic modality.
In this study, researchers from Canada sought to determine the therapeutic value of this approach to irritable bowel syndrome. The team examined health care utilization and patient morbidity.
They performed an observational study over a 4 year period, using an administrative database and morbidity scales.
The team assessed health care utilization for 2 years pre- and post-intervention.
|Health care utilization for gastrointestinal diagnoses increased in the year prior to intervention.|
|Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics|
In addition, they assessed patient morbidity at baseline, and at 1 and 2 years post-intervention.
The researchers included 70 irritable bowel syndrome patients in this study. Patients were all referred by primary physicians.
They performed a structured consultation, establishing a positive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome and providing disease conceptualization.
The research team found that health care utilization for gastrointestinal diagnoses increased in the year prior to the intervention. However, they declined immediately afterwards to baseline. Psychiatric and other visits remained unchanged for 4 years.
The team determined that overall, pain was reduced but other morbidity persisted.
Dr Ilnyckyj’s team concluded, “A consultation itself is a therapeutic intervention in irritable bowel syndrome with regard to its impact on societal economic burden”.
“It is associated with a durable decrease in illness-specific health care utilization”.
“It may not address all aspects of irritable bowel syndrome; multiple domains of morbidity demonstrated persistent distress”.