Psychological problems are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but the strength of this association is unclear.
Dr Canavan and colleagues from the United Kingdom assessed co-prescribing of antispasmodic and central nervous system-acting drugs through a nested case-control study.
A national dispensing database identified patients who were first dispensed antispasmodic medicines for a continuous 3-month period or more during 2006, using 2005 as a run-in period.
|Patients were 2 to 4 times more likely to be prescribed central nervous system-acting drugs|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Each patient was matched with 4 control patients and excluded if they received drugs indicated for irritable bowel disease (IBD).
The team commenced 407 patients commenced antispasmodic drugs during 2006.
These patients were matched with 1628 controls.
In 2005, patients subsequently prescribed antispasmodics were 2 to 3 times more likely to receive central nervous system-acting drugs than controls.
In the year following commencement of IBS therapy, patients were 2 to 4 times more likely than controls to be prescribed central nervous system-acting drugs including antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotic, and hypno-sedatives.
The team noted that the adjusted odds ratio for antidepressant, anxiolytic, hypnosedative and antipsychotic prescribing in IBS patients were 3.8, 2.8, 2.6, and 2.5, respectively.
Dr Canavan’s team concludes, “Patients prescribed ongoing therapy for presumed IBS are 2 to 4 times more likely to be prescribed central nervous system-acting drugs than controls, providing evidence of psychological comorbidity in IBS.”