Introduction Limited evidence is available on the economic burden of ulcerative colitis (UC) in the UK, particularly in relation to the impact of relapse frequency on direct medical costs. The objective of this study was to quantify annual disease-related and all-cause (total) medical resource utilisation (MRU) and associated direct medical costs.
Methods A retrospective chart review of patients with mild-to-moderate UC diagnosed at least 1 year prior to the study was performed. From 33 general practitioner (GP) and 34 gastroenterologist sites in UK, charts of the last three UC patients meeting the study's inclusion criteria were reviewed. 2009–2010 National Health Service reference costs were assigned to the recorded medical resources. Descriptive statistics were calculated for disease-related and all-cause MRU and costs by number of relapses. Logistic regression was used to estimate MRU and costs while accounting for relapse status, patient demographics, site type, and treatment setting.
Results Study population: N=201 patients; mean age: 39.9 years; 44% female; mean disease duration: 7.4 years. UC-related costs of each MRU category increased with the number of relapses. Comparing those without relapse to patients with >2 relapses, mean annual UC-related costs were £14 vs £2556 for hospitalisations; £239 vs £2221 for visits; £21 vs £1303 for procedures; £16 vs £188 for diagnostics. Age, gender, and site of data reporting (GP vs gastroenterologist) were not related to MRU or costs.
Conclusion Patients with mild-to-moderate UC have considerable care costs which increase significantly with the number of relapses. These findings support the importance of maintenance therapies in UC that aim to reduce relapse. Quantifying the relationship between relapse rate and costs will inform future health economic studies.
Competing interests K Bodger: Consultant for: Dr Bodger received funding from Covance Market Access Services, L Yen: Shareholder with: MsYen is a Shire Development LLC, shareholder, Employee of: MsYen is a Shire Development LLC, employee, A Szende: Grant/Research Support from: Dr Szende is a Covance Market Access Services (CMA) employee CMA received funding from Shire, G Sharma: Grant/Research Support from: Dr Sharma is a Covance Market Access Services (CMA) employee CMA received funding from Shire, J McDermott Grant/Research Support from: Mr McDermott is a Covance Market Access Services (CMA) employee CMA received funding from Shire, J Chen: Grant/Research Support from: MsChen is a Covance Market Access Services (CMA) employee CMA received funding from Shire, P Hodgkins Shareholder with: Dr Hodgkins is a Shire Development LLC, shareholder, Employee of: Dr Hodgkins is a Shire Development LLC, employee.