CHICAGO – Bile acid malabsorption increasingly is recognized as a cause of persistent, chronic diarrhea, but patients often receive suboptimal treatment because medical and public awareness is low, Julian Walters, MD, of Imperial College London, said at Digestive Disease Week®.
Members of two patient support groups in the United Kingdom were invited to complete an online survey to provide information on how this condition affects them. The first 100 responses were analyzed. The majority of respondents were female (91). More than 35 respondents were diagnosed after the age of 50 years, and 35 felt their condition had not been taken seriously by multiple practitioners prior to their eventual diagnosis, Dr. Walters reported.
Two-thirds of respondents had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome; the majority (68) of these had more than 10 interactions with medical professionals before being diagnosed with bile acid malabsorption.
Once appropriately diagnosed, most respondents reported doing very well on drugs such as cholestyramine and colesevelam, Dr. Walters said. He stressed that mental health issues are an important part of this condition because of its pervasive effects on daily life.
He discusses the survey and bile acid malabsorption in this.
Dr. Walters disclosed that he has been a consultant to or has received research funds from GE Healthcare, Intercept, Albireo, and Novartis.
Digestive Disease Week® is jointly sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT).