Inflammatory bowel disease: epidemiology and management in an English general practice population

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Dec;14(12):1553-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2000.00886.x.


Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases have significant long-term morbidity and healthcare resource consequences. Studies based on secondary care records may have underestimated the contribution of general practitioners (GPs) to its management.

Aims: To describe the epidemiology and management of inflammatory bowel disease using GP records as the primary data source.

Methods: A systematic search of GP clinical records in northern England, identifying cases of inflammatory bowel disease, patient consultation behaviour, prescribing patterns, and extent of specialist care.

Results: In a population of 135 723, the incidence of ulcerative colitis was 13. 9/100 000 per year (CI: 7.5-20.3) and for Crohn's disease 8.3/100 000 per year (CI: 3.4-13.2). The age-sex adjusted point prevalence for ulcerative colitis on 1st January 1995 was 243.4/100 000 (CI: 217.4-269.4) and for Crohn's disease 144.8/100 000 (CI: 124.8-168.8). The mean number of consultations (s.d.) with specialists and GPs were similar, both in the first 12 months after referral (specialists 3.94 +/- 3.15, GPs 3.34 +/- 3.55) and in the most recent 12 months (1.02 +/- 2.02, 1.04 +/- 2.04). Only 29.9% of all patients were definitely under specialist care.

Conclusions: Prevalence rates, but not incidence rates, for inflammatory bowel disease are substantially higher than previously described in UK populations. General practitioners make a significant contribution to meeting the healthcare needs of these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / epidemiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / epidemiology
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence