The burden of comedication among patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Jessie P. Buckley, Michael D. Kappelman, Jeffery K. Allen, Susan A. Van Meter, Suzanne F. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Polypharmacy is of growing concern in the chronically ill, including individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The authors aimed to describe the prevalence and predictors of non-IBD medication use and to compare drug use among individuals with and without IBD. Methods: This cross-sectional study included members of health plans included in the Thomson Reuters MarketScan databases with continuous enrollment during 2009 and 2010. Patients with IBD were identified through diagnosis codes and IBD medication dispensings and matched to 5 individuals without IBD. The prevalences of dispensed prescriptions for analgesics (narcotics, nonnarcotics), psychiatric medications (anxiolytics/ sedatives/hypnotics, antidepressants), and broad drug classes defined by the Anatomic Therapeutic Classification system were estimated. Predictors of non-IBD medication use and comparisons of drug use by IBD status were evaluated using logistic regression. Results: The prevalence of medication use was higher among patients with IBD than matched members of the general population for nearly every drug class examined, including narcotic analgesics (48.1% versus 34.1%), nonnarcotic analgesics (12.8% versus 8.1%), anxiolytics/sedatives/hypnotics (25.8% versus 16.7%), and antidepressants (28.3% versus 19.4%). Medicaid insurance, middle age, gastrointestinal surgery, Crohn's disease, and increasing number of inpatient, and outpatient, and prescription events were significantly associated with analgesic and psychiatric medication use among patients with IBD. Psychiatric drug dispensings were more common among female IBD patients than male patients. Conclusions: Patients with IBD have increased medication use, particularly of analgesic and psychiatric drugs. IBD care providers should be aware of polypharmacy and its potential for drug interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2725-2736
Number of pages12
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Comedication
  • Crohn's disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Polypharmacy
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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