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How bad is IBS? Average patient accepts 1% risk of death if 99% chance of cure

  [ 9 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ] • July 11, 2012

IBS patients' willingness to take risks with medications
– Source: American Journal of Gastroenterology, June 2012

By Brian E Lacy, MD, PhD, et al.

Objectives: We explored irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients’ impulsivity and risk-taking behavior and their willingness to take medication risks.

Methods: A validated questionnaire assessed the illness experience of IBS patients. A standard gamble evaluated respondents’ willingness to take medication risks.


• IBS patients with severe symptoms were more willing to take significant medication risks than those with mild or moderate symptoms.

• Impulsivity scores were not associated with an increased likelihood of taking medication risks.

• Age, gender, and years of IBS symptoms were not associated with medication risk-taking behavior.

• IBS patients reported they would accept a median 1% risk of sudden death for a 99% chance of cure for their symptoms using a hypothetical medication.

Conclusions: IBS patients are willing to take significant medication risks to cure their symptoms. To counsel patients effectively, physicians must determine and understand IBS patients’ risk aversion.

Source:  American Journal of Gastroenterology, June 2012;107, 804-809. DOI:10.1038/ajg.2011.485, by Lacy BE, Everhart KK, Weiser KT, DeLee R, Strobel S, Siegel C, Crowell MD. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire; Division of Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. [E-mail:]

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Article Comments Post a Comment

Something that works for me
Posted by: McColl
Jul 18, 2012
I got stress related IBS after a bereavement and every time stress levels increase, IBS symptome reappear.

I tried a couple of prescription medications, and the next option was tri-cyclic anti depressants to calm it. This was not something I wanted to take, so a couple of years ago looked up the supplemental equivalents of these drugs and ended up trying a complex I found that incorporates L-Theanine, Taurine, GABA, Holy Basil and Relora which is Magnolia and Philodendron barks.

Within a few hours of taking one, the cramps subsided (much to my surprise), and by taking one twice per day, all symptoms greatly improved.
I take one each night now as a maintenance, and it does indeed work well enough to make it far less of a problem.
At times, I take none at all until such time as symptoms start to reappear.
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