Managing costs and care for chronic idiopathic constipation.

Authors:
Dana McCormick
Dana McCormick
Director of Pharmacy

Am J Manag Care 2019 Mar;25(4 Suppl):S63-S69

Director of Pharmacy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Richardson, TX. Email:

For decades, chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) has been one of the most common chronic functional gastrointestinal disorders encountered by clinicians. Common comorbidities include depression, diabetes, functional dyspepsia, hypothyroidism, overweight, obesity, and neurological disorders. CIC imposes a large economic burden on the American healthcare system with estimated costs of $1912 to $7522 in 2007 US dollars per patient per year. Individuals affected by CIC indicate significant rates of absenteeism and presenteeism at work. Those with constipation have poorer general health, mental health, and social functioning compared with healthy controls. The average patient with CIC tries approximately 4 over-the-counter (OTC) and 2 prescription medications before finding an effective treatment. Guideline-directed treatment generally recommends moving from lifestyle modifications to OTC products and prescription laxatives. Most patients report that the relief they receive is unacceptable. Reliable evidence indicates that newer prescription drugs offer greater relief of symptoms than those of traditional approaches. Appropriate formulary management of CIC offers opportunities to impact patient care in 3 major areas: clinical, economic, and humanistic outcomes. Plans will need to be flexible, especially because patient dissatisfaction with treatment is prevalent in CIC.

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March 2019
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