alexa Early rheumatoid arthritis 6 years after diagnosis is still associated with high direct costs and increasing loss of productivity: the Swedish TIRA project.
Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics

Journal of Arthritis

Author(s): Hallert E, Husberg M, Kalkan A, Skogh T, Bernfort L

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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To calculate total costs over 6 years after diagnosis of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHOD: In the longitudinal prospective multicentre TIRA study, 239 patients from seven units, diagnosed in 1996-98, reported regularly on health-care utilization and the number of days lost from work. Costs were obtained from official databases and calculated using unit costs (Swedish kronor, SEK) from 2001. Indirect costs were calculated using the human capital approach (HCA). Costs were inflation adjusted to Euro June 2012, using the Swedish Consumer Price Index and the exchange rate of June 2012. Statistical analyses were based on linear mixed models (LMMs) for changes over time. RESULTS: The mean total cost per patient was EUR 14,768 in year 1, increasing to EUR 18,438 in year 6. Outpatient visits and hospitalization decreased but costs for surgery increased from EUR 92/patient in year 1 to EUR 444/patient in year 6. Drug costs increased from EUR 429/patient to EUR 2214/patient, mainly because of the introduction of biologics. In year 1, drugs made up for 10\% of direct costs, and increased to 49\% in year 6. Sick leave decreased during the first years but disability pensions increased, resulting in unchanged indirect costs. Over the following years, disability pensions increased further and indirect costs increased from EUR 10,284 in year 1 to EUR 13,874 in year 6. LMM analyses showed that indirect costs were unchanged whereas direct costs, after an initial fall, increased over the following years, leading to increasing total costs. CONCLUSIONS: In the 6 years after diagnosis of early RA, drug costs were partially offset by decreasing outpatient visits but indirect costs remained unchanged and total costs increased. This article was published in Scand J Rheumatol and referenced in Journal of Arthritis

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