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IBS imposes high economic burden on patients: Study

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IBS imposes high economic burden on patients: Study

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may not be a life-threatening condition but it has a huge impact on healthcare systems and society. A recent study conducted in Odisha has found direct and indirect costs for moderate to severe IBS were high with the largest direct cost driver being hospitalisations impacting the economic condition of people.

With a prevalence of around 10 to 15 per cent, IBS is one of the most common functional bowel disorders. Due to its chronic nature and high prevalence, it has a high economic as well as social burden. A group of seven senior gastroenterologists from the state have studied the annual direct and indirect costs for patients diagnosed with IBS and its social impact. 

The study, published in Gastroenterology, a high-impact official medical journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, revealed that IBS affected the financial status of half of the patients and the professional lives of most of the patients. Total annual costs per patient were estimated at `70,560. The medical cost per patient was estimated to be `42,846 accounting for 60.72 per cent of the total cost whereas the cost of travel and meals was estimated to be `9,939, which was 14.1 per cent of the total cost. 

Productivity loss accounted for an average of `17,805 which was 25.23 per cent of the total annual costs. Moreover, 55.8 per cent of the patients studied by the team claimed to have used their savings for disease-related expenditure. The analysis of the effects of IBS on social life found that 97.6 per cent of patient’s work was affected by the disease and 89 per cent of patients had avoided outdoor meetings.

Primary investigator of the study Dr Ayaskanta Singh said IBS imposes a huge economic burden on patients and healthcare systems. “More than three-fourths of total annual costs of IBS consist of direct expenditure like consultation charges, medicine cost and travel cost,” said Dr Singh, senior consultant at SUM Ultimate Medicare. 

The coastal belt of Odisha and West Bengal have high prevalence of IBS with around 25 per cent of patients developing post-infectious (PI)-IBS after six months. Younger age, long duration of GI infection and abdominal pain were independent risk factors.  The study suggested that the burden of illness for IBS is quite substantial with all its subtypes requiring similar levels of healthcare.

Non-fatal yet costly

  • With a prevalence of around 10 to 15 per cent, IBS is one of the most common functional bowel disorders
  • Total annual costs per patient estimated at `70,560
  • The medical cost per patient was estimated to be `42,846 accounting for 60.72 per cent of the total cost

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