This study was designed to assess the diagnostic and symptom profile of patients receiving tegaserod in routine clinical practice, and to identify their demographic characteristics, as well as the association between these characteristics and diagnosis.
This prospective, observational study collected data from physicians on the symptoms and/or diagnosis, age range and gender for patients to whom they prescribed tegaserod. Details of the physician characteristics included whether they were a family physician or a specialist, and the region of Canada in which their practice was located.
A total of 500 patients were enrolled at 85 sites in Canada. The majority (85%) of the patients were enrolled by family physicians, and the remainder by community-based specialists. The patients were predominantly female (87%) and the highest percentages were in the 35-44 (23%) and 45-54 (25%) age groups. Nearly all patients (96%) were prescribed tegaserod on the basis of both symptoms and diagnosis. The most frequently reported symptoms were abdominal pain and/or discomfort (87%), bloating (80%) and constipation (75%). Most patients (57%) presented with all three of these symptoms. Constipation-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS-C) was the most common diagnosis (55%), followed by IBS alternating between constipation and diarrhea (IBS-A) (23%). Based on this, 67% of patients were given tegaserod strictly according to the label, although it was appropriately prescribed to 87%.
In Canada, tegaserod is prescribed to patients with symptoms of abdominal pain and/or discomfort, bloating and constipation. Most of them will also have a diagnosis of either IBS-C or IBS. It is generally being prescribed appropriately.