Background Polysubstance use (PSU), the simultaneous use of 2 or more substances of abuse, is common in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Preliminary studies suggest it may be associated with poor outcomes. This prospective study evaluated the impact of PSU on disease activity and healthcare resource utilization in IBD. Methods This study was conducted in a tertiary IBD center between October 29, 2015, and December 31, 2019. Participants were assessed over 2 time points (index and follow-up outpatient appointments) separated by a minimum of 6 months. Demographics, endoscopic disease activity, and surveys assessing symptoms, healthcare resource utilization and substance use (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, opioid, or benzodiazepine) were abstracted. We identified PSU during the index appointment and computed descriptive statistics and contingency table analyses, and multivariate logistic regression models at follow up to evaluate outcomes. Results 162 consecutively enrolled IBD patients were included. Seventy-five patients (46%) were polysubstance users at the index appointment. The most common cohorts were utilizing tobacco and alcohol (n=40) or tobacco and opioids (n=13). On bivariate and multivariate analyses, PSU during the index visit was positively associated with emergency department (ED) visits (odds ratio [OR] 2.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24-5.07; P=0.01) and negatively associated with extraintestinal manifestations (OR 0.37, 95%CI 0.18-0.74; P=0.005). Age, sex, disease activity, disease subtype and IBD-related symptoms were not associated with PSU. Conclusions IBD patients exhibiting PSU had increased risk of future ED visits. This study highlights the risks of PSU and reinforces the importance of appropriate substance use screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-636
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 23 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology

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