The burden of illness of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: impact on work productivity

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2003 May 15;17(10):1309-17. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2003.01588.x.


Background: The impact of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease on work productivity has become increasingly important, as the symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease affect individuals in their productive years of life.

Aims: To assess the impact of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease on reduced work productivity and to identify the predictors of reduced productivity.

Methods: A sample of employed individuals reporting chronic heartburn was selected from US household mail survey respondents. Heartburn severity and frequency were recorded using a diary, and work productivity was assessed using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire for Patients with Symptoms of Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease. Predictors of reduced productivity were evaluated.

Results: Over 30% of heartburn sufferers reported reduced productivity. Individuals with symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (n = 1003) reported 6.0% reduced productivity attributable to symptoms. Over 48% of respondents with severe symptoms reported reduced productivity, compared with 40% and 12% of respondents with moderate and mild symptoms, respectively. Using logistic regression, severity, a younger age and nocturnal symptoms were associated with increased odds of reduced productivity. In those reporting nocturnal heartburn, medication use and sleep interference increased the odds of reduced productivity.

Conclusions: Reduced work productivity is seen in a large proportion of subjects on prescription medication for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Symptom severity and nocturnal heartburn are significantly associated with reduced work productivity, particularly when nocturnal heartburn interferes with sleep.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Heartburn / complications*
  • Heartburn / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work Capacity Evaluation*