Background Osteoarthritis (OA), as a common joint's disease, is associated with high healthcare resource utilization. It is important to determine the economic burden of the disease and the possible predictors which may increase the cost of the disease.
Objectives To estimate the total annual costs and their predictors in patients with knee osteoarthritis in our country.
Methods A cross-sectional study was performed from January 2012 to January 2013. There were included consecutive patients that fulfilled the ACR classification criteria for knee OA (1991). We collected data on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, function limitation, use of health and social services, and effect on occupation and living arrangements over the previous 12 months. The direct medical costs comprised: medication, hospitalization, medical visits and investigations; the direct non-healthcare costs included informal care and patient out-of-pocket payments. Human capital approach was used to estimate indirect costs. Mean annual per patient total costs were calculated from a patient's perspective. The intangibles costs were assessed by Willingness to Pay method. The cost's predictors were determined by multiple regression analyses using direct, indirect and total costs as outcome variables. This study was conducted according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (1996) and good clinical practice.
Results There were 256 patients integrated in the study including 196 females and 60 males, mean age 62.4±9.5 (range 37 to 85) years. The disease duration was 8.1±6.7 (range 1-51) years. The average total cost, accounted $685, including: the direct costs - $485 (71.04%) per person per year and indirect costs - $190 (29%), respectively. The mean intangible cost was $1200, with a large range ($83 -$8400).
Female gender, educational level and higher annual incomes caused an increase of direct costs (p<0.001). The indirect costs were higher in patients with radiographic severe disease (p<0.05), poor joint functionality (p<0.01) and the presence of co-morbidities (p<0.01). The intangibles costs were influenced by the pain level (p<0.05).
Conclusions The knee osteoarthritis has a considerable economic burden on patient and health-care system. The maintenance of joint mobility and the control of disease progression may reduce the costs of knee osteoarthritis.
Disclosure of Interest None declared