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 17 January 2018

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News

Economic consequences of irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a significant financial burden on the employer, finds a research team in the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

News image

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In this study, researchers from the United States measured the direct costs of treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), plus the indirect costs in the workplace.

The team performed a retrospective analysis of administrative claims data from a national Fortune 100 manufacturer. Data included all medical, pharmaceutical, and disability claims for the company's employees, spouses/dependents, and retirees.

The researchers identified patients with IBS as those who received a primary code for IBS, or a secondary code for IBS and a primary code for constipation or abdominal pain.

Outpatient care costs to employer:
- IBS patients = $1258
- controls = $742.
Archives of Internal Medicine

They matched 94% of IBS patients to a control population of beneficiaries using age, sex, employment status, and ZIP code. The team then compared direct and indirect costs for patients with IBS with those of the matched controls.

The research team found that the average total cost per patient with IBS was $4527 in 1998, compared with $3276 with controls.

They determined that the average cost of physician visits were $524 and $345 for patients with IBS and controls, respectively.

Furthermore, average outpatient care costs to the employer were $1258 and $742 for patients with IBS and controls, respectively.

The team also calculated that medically-related work absenteeism cost the employer a mean of $901 per employee treated for IBS, compared with $528 per employee without IBS.

Dr Stephanie Leong's team concluded, "Irritable bowel syndrome is a significant financial burden on the employer that arises from an increase in direct and indirect costs compared with the control group".

Arch Intern Med 2003; 163:929-35.
01 May 2003

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