August 08, 2018
2 min read

IBS-D can lead to suicidal thoughts

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More than 10% of patients with diarrhea predominant irritable bowel syndrome admitted to feeling suicidal thoughts, according to data from a survey published in the UEG Journal.

Hans Törnblom, MD, PhD , of the department of internal medicine and clinical nutrition at the Institute of Medicine at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues wrote that IBS-D can have a major effect on patient quality of life. However, the health impact of the disorder on patients in relation to their symptom burden has not been fully explored.

“IBS can be an extremely tough, emotional and difficult condition to live with and, in addition to dedicating resources to improve the physical burden of IBS, it is essential that care and investment is committed to providing psychological and emotional support for patients,” Törnblom said in a press release. “This should come from multi-disciplined healthcare professionals, as well as family members, friends and colleagues.”

For the survey, patients and health care providers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom completed online questionnaires consisting of IBS-D-related statements scored with a seven-point Likert scales.

Of 513 patients (70% female, mean age 40.9 years) who completed the survey, 11% agreed with the statement, “when my IBS is bad, I wish I was dead.” Nineteen-percent reported that they used antidepressants daily, and 33% thought health care providers needed to “listen and provide more support.”

Nearly half of the patients (46%) said they would be willing to “try anything” to help manage their IBS, and 49% reported that they would use daily treatment for the rest of their lives if it prevented their symptoms from flaring.

Among the 366 primary care physicians and 313 gastroenterologists who completed the survey, 70% and 65% respectively felt it was important that patients feel listened to and supported, 73% agreed their main aim was to improve quality of life and approximately 30% felt frustrated about managing IBS-D.

“The majority of IBS sufferers do not seek medical advice for their condition,” Törnblom said in the release. “Of those that do speak to a healthcare professional, it is clear that there are high levels of dissatisfaction with the level of care that they currently receive. Healthcare professionals experience a degree of uncertainty and complexity in managing IBS patients and the research indicates the need for higher levels of communication between care providers and patients to facilitate improved patient outcomes.” – by Alex Young.

Disclosures: Törnblom reports that he served on advisory boards for Allergan, Almirall and Shire. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.