2007, Number 3
Rev Gastroenterol Mex 2007; 72 (3)
Detection and treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Does it modify the use of health resources?
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ABSTRACTBackground: It is still unknown whether the treatment and control of conditions that coexist with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) change the utilization of healthcare resources for this disease. Objectives: To determine whether the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism in patients with IBS decreased the use of healthcare resources and work absenteeism. Material and methods: Patients with IBS and subclinical hypothyroidism (cases) and patients with IBS and no hypothyroidism (controls) were diagnosed during a three-year period. Other conditions were ruled out by means of a group of tests. Four years later, a survey on the associated medical events, the use of healthcare resources, and work absenteeism during the previous year was applied. Controls were age- and gender-matched at a 2:1 control: case ratio. Results: Fourteen cases and 28 controls were studied, all of them females, with a mean age of 46 years. The survey was conducted 4 years after the initial diagnosis in both groups. No significant differences were found between both groups in the following: the proportion of the patients who had received medical treatment for IBS (79% of cases vs 82% of controls), the prescription of psychotropics (36% vs. 36%, respectively), the proportion seen in the emergency room due to gastrointestinal complaints (21% vs. 18%, respectively), job absenteeism (7% vs 11%, respectively), and the proportion of patients who underwent abdominal surgery (14% vs. 11%, respectively). The mean number of visits to the doctor due to gastrointestinal complaints within the year prior to the interview was similar in both groups (3.1 for cases vs. 3.4 for controls). Conclusions: The detection and treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism do not modify the utilization of healthcare resources in IBS.