Functional dyspepsia: the economic impact to patients

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jul;38(2):170-7. doi: 10.1111/apt.12355. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


Background: Although highly prevalent, little is known about the economic impact of functional dyspepsia (FD).

Aims: To quantify FD patients' health care utilisation patterns and to estimate direct and indirect costs of FD to patients.

Methods: ICD-9 codes identified adult patients with dyspepsia. A validated questionnaire was mailed to patients who met Rome III criteria for FD.

Results: Three hundred and fifty-five patients met all inclusion criteria. The response rate was 63%. The respondents' mean age was 50 (14) years; 75% were women; 52% of respondents rated their FD as moderate. Patients reported 3 visits (mean) to their PCP over 12 months; 75% reported having blood work, 92% an EGD, 59% an ultrasound and 40% a CT scan. The direct cost of testing using Medicare reimbursement rates per patient was $582. To treat FD symptoms, 89% tried dietary changes, 89% over-the-counter medications, 87% prescription medications and 25% alternative therapies. Mean patient expenditure over the last year was $246 for OTC medications (range $0-12,000), $290 for co-payments (range $0-9,000) and $110 for alternative treatments (range $0-3,741). Total mean direct cost yearly to patients was $699. In the 7 days prior to completing the questionnaire, respondents reported a mean of 1.4 h absence from work. Extrapolating the results to the US population, we conservatively calculate the costs of FD were $18.4 billion in 2009.

Conclusions: Functional dyspepsia patients incur significant direct and indirect costs and work productivity is impaired by dyspeptic symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dyspepsia / economics*
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology
  • Dyspepsia / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires