Patients with persistent symptoms used more healthcare resources, researchers said - by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD
Tobacco use by systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients is linked to worsening gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, but the immunosuppressive and anti-scarring medications used to treat the autoimmune disease aren’t, according to a recent analysis of data from a multicenter, U.S.-based patient registry.
The findings are striking in light of previous studies that suggested certain medications might drive GI problems in SSc patients, whereas tobacco hasn’t yet been linked to this type of symptom, noted Sarah Luebker, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, the study’s first author ,and a rheumatology fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“It’s surprising that medications commonly blamed for gastrointestinal tract symptoms did not actually result in symptomology,” Luebker said in a press release from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
The researchers also found that patients with persistently severe GI symptoms over time generally used more healthcare resources, including doctor appointments, diagnostic tests, and hospital stays.
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