$50,000 Economic Burden for Lupus Nephritis

October 23, 2020
Rheumatology Network Editorial Staff

Treatments for lupus nephritis can cost patients over $50,000 a year, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week annual meeting.

Treatments for lupus nephritis can cost patients over $50,000 a year, according to a study presented yesterday at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week annual meeting.

Lupus nephritis affects approximately 35 percent of adults with systemic lupus erythematosus. It is associated with an increased risk of renal failure, cardiovascular disease, and death.

This analysis, reported by Christopher F. Bell of GlaxoSmithKline, included 2,326 patients (nearly 86% were female, 38.5% were 45–64 years of age, 44.1% were ≥65 years of age). Patients with lupus nephritis had more out-patient visits (53.93 [55.34] vs 18.27 [21.61]), they had more emergency department visits (2.87 [7.91] vs 0.86 [2.31]), and hospitalizations (0.86 [1.48] vs 0.12 [0.51]) as compared to the control group.

In this study, the lupus nephritis group had a significantly higher mean (standard deviation number of ambulatory visits (53.93 [55.34] vs 18.27 [21.61]), emergency department visits (2.87 [7.91] vs 0.86 [2.31]), and hospitalizations (0.86 [1.48] vs 0.12 [0.51]) versus the control cohort, respectively.

The average total costs were $50,958 ($86,100) for the lupus nephritis cohort, which were significantly higher than $10,737 ($21,741) in the control cohort. Differences in cost were largely driven by mean medical expenses for the LN cohort versus the control cohort ($40,648 [$78,134] vs $6,781 [$14,773] respectively). All p-values were <0.001.

Other studies have found that the incremental annual cost associated with treatments for systemic lupus in a Medicaid population was estimated at $10,984, 55% of which was associated with inpatient costs. And, every time the condition flared to a severe degree, it added another $11,716 per flare, according to Hong J. Kan, Xue Song, et al writing in Biomedical Research International in 2012. Patients with at least one severe flare during the follow-up period had an annual cost of $49,754, more than twice the costs of patients with moderate or mild flares as their highest flare severity. “Further research is needed to understand the potential impact of various SLE treatments on healthcare utilization and costs in the Medicaid population,” the authors wrote.

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CITATION

ABSTRACT: PO1768. "Burden of Illness of Lupus Nephritis in Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus." ABSTRACT: PO1768. Oct. 22, 2020. American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week annual meeting.