Limited evidence is available on the economic burden of ulcerative colitis (UC) in the UK, particularly relating to the impact of relapse frequency on direct medical costs.
Dr Keith Bodger and colleagues identified and assessed medical resource utilization (MRU) and associated direct costs in mild and moderate UC patients in the UK.
The team performed a retrospective chart review of patients with mild-to-moderate UC diagnosed at least 1 year before the study was performed. From 33 general practitioner (GP) and 34 gastroenterologist sites, charts of the last three UC patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria were reviewed.
Descriptive statistics were calculated for MRU and 2011 costs (GB£) by number of relapses.
The team evaluated 201 patients with a mean age of 40 year.
|The mean annual UC-related costs in patients with more than 2 relapses were £2556 for hospitalizations|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The team found that 44% were women, and the mean disease duration was 7 years.
UC-related costs of each MRU category increased with the number of relapses.
Comparing patients without relapse with those with more than 2 relapses, the mean annual UC-related costs were £14 versus £2556 for hospitalizations, £218 versus £988 for visits, £21 versus £1303 for procedures, £17 versus £188 for diagnostics, and £1168 versus £6660 for all-cause total costs.
The researchers observed that age, sex, and site of data reportingwere not associated with MRU or costs.
Dr Bodger's team concludes, "Patients with mild-to-moderate UC incurred considerable costs that increased markedly with the number of relapses."
"These findings support the importance of maintenance therapies in UC that reduce or prevent relapses."
"Quantifying the relationship between relapse rate and costs will inform future health economic studies."