Background: Irritable bowel syndrome with predominant constipation (IBS-C) is a complex disorder with gastrointestinal and nervous system components. The study aim was to assess the economic burden of moderate to severe IBS-C in six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK).
Methods: An observational, one year retrospective-prospective (6 months each) study of patients diagnosed in the last five years with IBS-C (Rome III criteria) and moderate to severe disease at inclusion (IBS Symptom Severity Scale score ≥ 175). The primary objective was to assess the direct cost to European healthcare systems.
Results: Five hundred twenty-five patients were included, 60% (range: 43.1-78.8%) suffered from severe IBS-C. During follow-up 11.1-24.0% of patients had a hospitalisation/emergency room (ER) visit, median stay range: 1.5-12.0 days and 41.1-90.4% took prescription drugs for IBS-C. 21.4-50.8% of employed patients took sick leave (mean: 11.6-64.1 days). The mean annual direct cost to the healthcare systems was €937.1- €2108.0. The total direct cost (combined costs to healthcare systems and patient) for IBS-C was €1421.7-€2487.1.
Conclusions: IBS-C is not a life-threatening condition; however, it has large impact on healthcare systems and society. Direct and indirect costs for moderate to severe IBS-C were high with the largest direct cost driver being hospitalisations/ER visits.
Keywords: Economic analysis; Europe; Healthcare resource utilisation; IBS; IBS-C.