Trends in economic consequences of rheumatoid arthritis over two subsequent years

S. M M Verstappen, J. W G Jacobs, A. A. Kruize, J. C. Ehrlich, G. A. van Albada-Kuipers, H. Verkleij, E. Buskens, J. W J Bijlsma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective. To examine changes in direct costs and in working status over 2-yrs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Patients and methods.In both 1999 and 2000, RA patients (n=461) filled out a questionnaire retrospectively regarding utilization of health care, other RA-related direct costs and working status. Patients were categorized into four disease duration groups: 0-2 yrs, 2-6 yrs, 6-10 yrs and 10 yrs. At the same time points, disease activity was assessed. Logistic regression analyses were performed to identify a possible association between disease activity (high >66th percentile) measured at start of the second year and high direct costs (high >66th percentile) in the second year. Results. Compared with the first year, a significant decrease in the costs for contacts with health care workers and for costs for laboratory tests was observed in the second year for the 10 yrs group, we found a significant decrease in costs for devices and adaptations, but medication costs increased in the 10 yrs group in the second year. In the >10 yrs group, this was mainly due to an increasing number of patients who started to use biological agents during the second year. In all four disease duration groups, worse Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) disease activity and VAS general well-being were significantly associated with high direct costs. Of 97 patients working without disability at time of the first assessment, 12 (12%) patients became (partial) work disabled during follow-up. Conclusion. In particular, costs for devices/adaptations and for medication changed during follow-up. The latter was probably due to an increase in the use of biological agents. Hopefully a decrease in direct costs and a reduced percentage of patients getting work disabled by better disease control will outweigh the high costs of biological drugs in the future. © The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)968-974
    Number of pages6
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


    • 2 yr follow-up
    • Direct costs
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Working status


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