Resource utilization associated with irritable bowel syndrome in the United States: 1987–1997
This study uses national databases to examine the impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on resource utilization in the United States. Approximately 1.5–2.7 million physician visits (599–1043 per 100,000) yearly were related to IBS, with 45.3% seen by gastroenterologists, and 89% prescribed medications. Rates of physician visits by women were approximately 2.4–3.3 times higher than that for men. The average number of medication prescribed per visit was 1.83. Approximately 89% of the visits were prescribed with medications. The rate of hospitalization (5.1 per 100,000 in 1997) decreased by 60% and length of stay decreased from 5.5 to 3.1 days in the past decade. The average charges of IBS-related hospitalization were US$7,882. Our study found an apparent decreasing trend of IBS-related hospitalizations and no marked increase in office consultations in the past decade. However, a better case identification criterion is necessary to estimate the true disease burden.