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International Study Reveals Disconnect Between Patients And Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) Over Symptom Burden In Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

AMSTERDAM, October 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

The results of an international survey to assess patients '  and healthcare professionals '  (HCPs ' ) differing perceptions of ulcerative colitis have been presented at a Shire organised press briefing during the 20th United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) meeting in Amsterdam today. The  ' Mind the Gap '  survey, which was sponsored by Shire, is the first international study in ulcerative colitis (UC) to compare the views and beliefs of patients, physicians and specialist nurses. It identifies key differences between patients' and HCPs' perceptions of the impact of UC symptoms on patients' lives. [1 ]

Commenting on the findings, Professor Stefan Schreiber, Department for General Internal Medicine and Institute for Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian Albrechts University, Germany and lead author said "One of the main conclusions of the survey is that HCPs may underestimate the effect of specific UC symptoms on patients and may not recognise issues that are important to patients. For example, patients' classification of their own symptom severity revealed greater severity particularly when compared with physician estimates and more than half of patients stated that UC symptoms over the past year had affected their quality of life, while physicians estimated that just over one third of patients would have a reduced quality of life over the same period."

In addition, the survey, which involved 775 patients with UC and 525 HCPs involved with the treatment of patients with the disease from five European countries ( France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the UK) and Canada, show:
  • On average, patients reported almost six flare ups in the previous year while physicians and nurses reported almost four [ 1 ]  
  • Pain was key for patients, ranking as one of the top two most bothersome symptoms (with urgency), while physicians and nurses ranked urgency and stool frequency highest [ 1 ]
  • Seventy-two per cent of patients regarded HCPs as their main source of UC information. However, 59% reported not arranging regular visits to see their HCPs [ 1 ]

The results suggest that improved communication between patients and their physician or specialist nurse and better patient education could help to address these issues. [ 1 ] "In this way, the patient would be more able to recognise the symptoms of active disease and participate in the selection of diagnostic and therapeutic options, which would contribute to more personalised management", commented Professor Julian Panés, Gastroenterology Department, Hospital Clínic Barcelona, Spain, who led the survey alongside Professor Schreiber. "The findings therefore add to a growing body of evidence, which indicates that improved communication between patients and HCPs is fundamental to the successful management of ulcerative colitis."

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