Abstract

The Socioeconomic Impact of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: An Analysis of Direct and Indirect Health Care Costs

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Sep;21(10):2660-2669. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2023.01.017.Epub 2023 Jan 31.

 

Michelle H M A Bosman 1Zsa Zsa R M Weerts 2Johanna T W Snijkers 2Lisa Vork 2Zlatan Mujagic 2Ad A M Masclee 2Daisy M A E Jonkers 2Daniel Keszthelyi 2

 
     

Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, the Netherlands; NUTRIM, School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands. Electronic address: m.bosman@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

2Division of Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Maastricht, the Netherlands; NUTRIM, School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Background & aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with substantial costs to society. Extensive data on direct costs (health care consumption) and indirect costs (health-related productivity loss) are lacking. Hence, we examined the socioeconomic costs of IBS and assessed which patient characteristics are associated with higher costs.

Methods: Cross-sectional data from 3 Rome-defined Dutch IBS patient cohorts (n = 419) were collected. Bootstrapped mean direct and indirect costs were evaluated per patient with IBS using validated questionnaires (ie, medical cost questionnaire and productivity cost questionnaire, respectively). Multivariable regression analyses were performed to identify variables associated with higher costs.

Results: Quarterly mean total costs per patient were €2.156 (95% confidence interval (CI), €1793-€2541 [$2444]), consisting of €802 (95% CI, €625-€1010 [$909]) direct costs and €1.354 (95% CI, €1072-€1670 [$1535]) indirect costs. Direct costs consisted primarily of health care professional consultations, with costs related to gastrointestinal clinic visits accounting for 6% and costs related to mental health care visits for 20%. Higher direct costs were significantly associated with older age (P = .007), unemployment (P = .001), IBS subtypes other than constipation (P = .033), lower disease-specific quality of life (P = .027), and more severe depressive symptoms (P = .001). Indirect costs consisted of absenteeism (45%), presenteeism (42%), and productivity loss related to unpaid labor (13%) and were significantly associated with the male sex (P = .014) and more severe depressive symptoms (P = .047).

Conclusions: Productivity loss is the main contributor to the socioeconomic burden of IBS. Direct costs were not predominantly related to gastrointestinal care, but rather to mental health care. Awareness of the nature of costs and contributing patient factors should lead to significant socioeconomic benefits for society.

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