Brian E. Lacy, MD, PhD, FACG

For patients with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), symptoms such as abdominal pain and discomfort impose a significant burden on HRQOL and daily living, explains Brian E. Lacy, MD, PhD, FACG. Dr. Lacy and colleagues assessed disease burden and care-seeking behavior in adults with IBS-D (N=29,359) via data from a cross-sectional, online health survey.

Their findings were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) 2022 annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, held in person and virtually.

In the study, participants with IBS-D were evenly matched by age, sex, region, race, and Charlson Comorbidity Index with healthy controls (N=669 each); most patients were White (84.0%) and female (74.6%), with a mean age of 41.9. Differences in depression, anxiety, HRQOL, and productivity were assessed between patients with IBS-D and the general population.

Nearly 20% of Patients With IBS-D Visited the ED for Their Symptoms

Patients with IBS-D had significantly higher percentages of moderate to severe anxiety and depression (P<0.001) and considerably lower HRQOL versus controls (P<0.001). Among patients with IBS-D versus controls, the impact of health on work productivity and daily activity was notably higher.

Of patients with IBS-D, nearly all (91.5%) sought care for their symptoms, 59.3% within the past year. Dr. Lacy and colleagues noted that nearly 20% of patients with IBS-D sought care at an ED for their symptoms.

Abdominal Pain & Discomfort Were the Most Commonly Reported Symptoms

Abdominal pain was the most reported complaint (87.1%) among patients who had an ED visit/hospitalization in the past year (17.3%). In general, the most reported symptoms were abdominal pain and abdominal discomfort (71.0% and 70.9%, respectively), and abdominal pain was reported to be the most bothersome (34.5%).

Patients reported better control of their disease with prescription medications compared with OTC medications. A total of 65.9% of patients with IBS-D reported taking a prescription medication and/or an OTC medication for their symptoms (13.2%, prescription alone; 13.9%, prescription and OTC; and 38.9%, OTC alone). Patients with IBS-D currently taking a prescription medication with versus without an OTC medication reported greater satisfaction with the control of bowel (39.2% vs 21.5%) and abdominal (40.3% vs 22.7%) symptoms than those currently taking an OTC alone.