Background: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder with consequences for the patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). In Germany, few data are available on the impact of GERD on work-related productivity.
Aim: To study the impact of GERD on work productivity despite proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy and the association between productivity and symptom duration, severity, and HRQoL.
Methods: Retrospective data from randomly selected patients with chronic GERD symptoms, treated by office-based general practitioners or general internists with routine clinical care, were analyzed together with information from self-administered instruments assessing work productivity (WPAI-GERD), symptoms (RDQ), and HRQoL (QOLRAD).
Results: Reduced productivity was reported by 152 of 249 patients (61.0%), although 89.5% of them were treated with PPI. The reduction in work productivity was 18.5% in all patients and 30.3% in those with reduced productivity. Patients with impaired productivity showed a significantly lower HRQoL and more-severe symptoms of reflux disease. In all patients, the mean sick leave attributable to reflux symptoms was 0.6 hours in the previous seven days and 1.4 work days in the previous three months.
Conclusion: GERD has a substantial impact on work productivity in Germany, even in patients receiving routine clinical care and PPI therapy.