Worsening or persistently high symptoms of anxiety or depression are tied to significantly higher healthcare use in IBD, according to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Alexander Ford, MD, and colleagues assessed trajectories of mental health symptoms among 1,031 adults with IBD. Patients with worsening or persistently abnormal anxiety or depression scores had increased antidepressant (28.6% vs 12.3% for anxiety and 35.8% vs 10.1% for depression) and opiate use (19.0% vs 7.8% for anxiety and 34.0% vs 7.4% for depression)
compared with patients with persistently normal or improving scores. Individuals with worsening or persistent symptoms were also more likely to have been diagnosed with IBD in the last 12 months and to have clinically active disease at baseline and lower QOL scores. Furthermore, significantly more outpatient appointments, radiological investigations, and endoscopic procedures for IBD-related symptoms were required with worsening or persistently abnormal trajectories of anxiety or depression. “There is a clear need to offer formal psychological support to a subgroup of patients with IBD, through a defined referral pathway, to reduce healthcare utilization and, potentially, improve disease prognosis,” Dr. Ford and colleagues wrote.