Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients are prepared to adopt therapies that pose major risks to permanently heal their symptoms, according to experts from Leeds, UK.
The main finding of this study was that participants of this study would, on average, accept a 2.0% risk of death for a 98.0% chance of permanent cure of IBS symptoms. Moreover, male participants and participants with severe symptoms, psychiatric comorbidities, a history of using multiple treatments in the last 12 months, or poor quality of life were ready to accept a higher risk of death of up to 5% in exchange for a permanent cure of their symptoms.
The above findings are from a study titled “Willingness to accept risk with medication in return for the cure of symptoms among patients with Rome IV irritable bowel syndrome,” which was recently published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. This study analyzed the data of 752 adult patients with Rome IV-IBS.
Why is this study important?
This study offers patient perspectives on the risks associated with medical treatments. The decision-makers regarding the licensing of medical treatments are mostly experts. Experts sitting in the regulatory bodies may not license medical treatments due to the inherent risks.
New medical treatments may be rejected or delayed by experts despite strong willingness in the patients to accept the reasonable risk of severe complications, including death. Studies like these can present the experts with valuable insights from patients, which they can consider when making licensing decisions for medical treatments.
The authors of this study point out that earlier studies have also shown a strong willingness among patients with IBS to accept risks. But those were small-scale studies conducted on selected patients and used ROME III diagnostic criteria, which are no longer relevant. Thus, the earlier studies could not be generalized.
Alternatively, this study has a fairly decent sample size of 752 patients and uses the ROME IV criteria for diagnosis. Additionally, unlike the previous studies, this study recruited patients from the community, and 80% of the participants have had IBS for over 5 years. Thus, the authors highlighted that this study may be a more valid assessment of what’s going on in the minds of patients with IBS. But, this study was mainly conducted on patients of White ethnicity residing in the UK, and it may not apply to other populations.
What are the key takeaways from this study?
This study shines a light on the impact of IBS on the psyche of patients. They are willing to accept sufficiently high risks to achieve a cure for their symptoms. Furthermore, people with IBS who have more severe symptoms and a lower quality of life are prepared to take on additional risks in return for a cure. Thus, this study reinforces the need for effective treatments for IBS, which is an important concern alike for regulators, pharmaceutical companies, and physicians.
Goodoory, V. C., Ng, C. E., Black, C. J., & Ford, A. C. (2022). Willingness to accept risk with medication in return for cure of symptoms among patients with Rome IV irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 55(10), 1311–1319. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.16816