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Pharmacoeconomics. 2002;20(11):749-58.

Burden of illness in irritable bowel syndrome comparing Rome I and Rome II criteria.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.



To evaluate the burden of illness in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in terms of resource utilisation (direct and indirect) and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL), in individuals with IBS who meet Rome I and Rome II criteria.


A cross-sectional study, carried out by personal interview, on a representative sample (n = 2000) of the Spanish population. Individuals with suspected IBS were identified via a screening question and subsequently given an epidemiological questionnaire to complete. The questionnaire collected information on IBS symptoms, resource utilisation, and HR-QOL [Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short Form (SF-36)].


Sixty-five individuals met Rome II criteria for IBS, while 146 individuals met exclusively Rome I criteria. Of Rome II individuals, 67.7% had consulted some type of healthcare professional in the previous 12 months, compared with only 41.8% of those individuals meeting exclusively Rome I criteria (p vs 17.1%); 'drug consumption' (70.8 vs 45.2%); and 'reduced performance in main activity' (60 vs 27.4%). Compared with the general population, the study sample reported significantly worse HR-QOL scores in four dimensions of the SF-36 ('bodily pain', 'vitality', 'social functioning' and 'role-emotional'. Additionally, individuals meeting Rome II criteria reported worse HR-QOL scores than those individuals meeting exclusively Rome I criteria, especially in the 'bodily pain' and 'general health' dimensions.


The burden of illness in IBS is important and correlated to the diagnostic criteria employed. Individuals who met Rome II criteria reported a higher level of resource utilisation and worse HR-QOL than individuals meeting exclusively Rome I criteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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