Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with other disorders (comorbidity), reduced quality of life and increased use of health resources. We aimed to explore the impact of comorbidity on cost of health care in patients with IBS in general practice.Methods: In this cohort study 208 consecutive patients with IBS (Rome II) were recruited. Sociodemographic data, IBS symptoms, and comorbidity (somatic symptoms, organic diseases and psychiatric disorders) were assessed at baseline. Based on a follow up interview after 6-9 months and use of medical records, IBS and non-IBS related health resource use were measured as consultations, hospitalisations, use of medications and alternative health care products and sick leave days. Costs were calculated by national tariffs and reported in Norwegian Kroner (NOK, 1 EURO equals 8 NOK). Multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of costs.Results: A total of 164 patients (mean age 52 years, 69% female, median duration of IBS 17 years) were available at follow up, 143 patients (88%) had consulted their GP of whom 31 (19%) had consulted for IBS. Mean number of sick- leave days for IBS and comorbidity were 1.7 and 16.3 respectively (p < 0.01), costs related to IBS and comorbidity were 954 NOK and 14854 NOK respectively (p < 0.001). Age, organic diseases and somatic symptoms, but not IBS severity, were significant predictors for total costs.Conclusion: Costs for health resource use among patients with IBS in general practice were largely explained by comorbidity, which generated ten times the costs for IBS.,
B M C Gastroenterology
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Johansson, P., Farup, P., Bracco, A., & Vandvik, P. (2010). How does comorbidity affect cost of health care in patients with irritable bowel syndrome? A cohort study in general practice. B M C Gastroenterology, 10. doi:10.1186/1471-230X-10-31