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Functional GI disorders are common in MS



Among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are prevalent and associated with health-related quality of life, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Managing patients’ psychiatric comorbidities could effectively reduce the burden of functional GI disorders, the researchers said.

Knowledge about the prevalence of functional GI disorders in the population of patients with MS is limited. For the most part, previous studies in this population have focused on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A 2013 study by Levinthal et al. (Mult Scler Int. 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/319201) investigated the prevalence of other functional GI disorders in MS, but the literature contains little information about the clinical and demographic characteristics associated with these disorders. In addition, the extent to which comorbid functional GI disorders influence health-related quality of life in MS is also unknown.

Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and colleagues sought to determine the prevalence of functional bowel disorders, the demographic and clinical characteristics associated with functional bowel disorders, and the effects of these disorders on health-related quality of life in a large, diverse population of persons with MS. In 2014, the investigators used the Rome III questionnaire to survey participants in the North American Research Committee on MS (NARCOMS) registry about functional bowel disorders. Participants also provided information about their sociodemographic characteristics, their disability status (using Patient-Determined Disease Steps), and any comorbid depression or anxiety, their health behaviors, and their health-related quality of life (using the RAND-12).

Dr. Marrie and colleagues used these data to determine the prevalence of IBS, functional bloating, functional constipation, functional diarrhea, and functional dyspepsia. They used multivariable logistic regression models to examine the factors associated with any functional GI disorder, and they used linear regression to analyze the association between functional GI disorders and health-related quality of life using linear regression.

Dr. Marrie and colleagues identified 6,312 eligible respondents. Approximately 77% of the population was female, and the sample’s mean age was 58.3 years. In all, 2,647 respondents (42%) had a functional GI disorder. The most common was IBS, which affected 28.2% of participants. The prevalence of all functional GI disorders increased with increasing disability. Depression and anxiety were associated with increased odds of IBS and functional dyspepsia. After adjustment for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, functional GI disorders were associated with lower physical and mental health-related quality of life.

The research was not supported by outside funding. Dr. Marrie had no disclosures, but other researchers had financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, such as Merck, Novartis, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis, and Teva.

SOURCE: Marrie RA et al. CMSC 2019, Abstract QOL13.

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