Myopathy Cost Burden Rivals That of RA and Systemic Sclerosis

July 6, 2011

The economic burden associated with the inflammatory myopathies is substantial.

The economic burden associated with the inflammatory myopathies is substantial. Patient age, shorter disease duration, and a marker of disease severity all are independently associated with higher health services costs, which may equal or exceed those of other serious diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis.

Bernatsky and colleagues identified 1102 patients with polymyositis or dermatomyositis from administrative health care databases. They determined the patients’ health services costs, including physician visits, outpatient procedures and surgeries, major diagnostic tests and procedures, and acute care hospitalizations.

Age was a significant predictor of total health services costs and was associated specifically with physician services costs; it was the main predictor of hospital costs. There was evidence of decreasing total costs with increasing disease duration. Being a woman was a predictor of costs related to physician services but not to hospitalization. Greater disease severity also was a strong predictor of both physician costs and total costs. Hospital costs contributed 74% of health services costs; physician visits contributed most of the remaining costs.