Salix Pharmaceuticals report reveals many IBS patients have concerns about post-pandemic life

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Salix Pharmaceuticals, a company committed to the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, released a report of survey results that offers perspectives from U.S. adults living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report, Patient Perspectives: Living with IBS in a Pandemic, provides insights about the symptoms and behaviors of 684 self-reported IBS patients during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 – March 2021), and their concerns about post-pandemic life.

Key findings about living with IBS during the pandemic include:

  • More than one-third (37%) of those surveyed acknowledged that managing their IBS symptoms had been more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During the pandemic, the wellbeing of IBS patients was impacted with 49% reporting that their mental health worsened. Of the respondents, 51% reported worse physical activity and 34% stated worse eating habits. 
  • Many respondents reported deteriorating IBS symptoms. According to the survey, 33% reported worsened diarrhea, 31% reported worsened constipation, 39% reported worsened abdominal pain or discomfort, and 42% reported worsened bloating. 
    • Fewer than 15% of patients surveyed living with these symptoms reported experiencing an improvement over the past year. 

When asked about post-pandemic life, respondents expressed the following concerns: 

  • Lack of access to restrooms (55%)
  • Being able to attend social gatherings (48%) 
  • Traveling (37%)
  • Returning to public events (35%)
  • Going back to work or school in-person (32%)
  • Dating and/or intimacy (30%)

*Respondents were also asked about paying for visits with a health care provider, paying for IBS treatment and losing medical coverage. 

Additional findings from the report suggest that IBS patients surveyed may be interested in discussing clinical treatment guidelines with their physician. Only 11% of respondents report that they were aware that the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) recently published clinical guidelines for the management of IBS. 

  • In a group of pooled respondents with IBS with constipation (IBS-C), Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC) and IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), 85% would want their doctor to communicate recently published treatment guidelines to them when discussing the management of their condition. 

“A major takeaway from the survey is the importance of communication between healthcare providers and their IBS patients. The fact that 35% of survey respondents haven’t discussed symptoms with a healthcare provider since the pandemic began is concerning,” said Howard Franklin, MD, chief medical officer of Salix Pharmaceuticals. “We hope that healthcare providers leverage the insights from this report to prompt questions for their patients that will help them find relief from IBS symptoms, together.” 

To view the complete findings and methodology from the Patient Perspectives: Living with IBS in a Pandemic report, visit here.

About the Methodology Behind Patient Perspectives: Living with IBS in a Pandemic

Data is from a representative non-probability online sample of U.S. residents and was carried out in March 2021 by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s FDU Poll. Participants were recruited based on previously reported gastrointestinal issues. The overall sample size of the survey was 695 respondents and was screened to include only those who self-reported having IBS with constipation, Chronic Idiopathic Constipation or IBS with diarrhea. Respondents were drawn from multiple panels of U.S. residents and were compensated for their time. Due to the limitations of this survey, results may not be representative of the general IBS population.


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