Article

The socioeconomic burden of systemic lupus erythematosus: state-of-the-art and prospects.

Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, 9/F Clinical Sciences Building, The Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong.
Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research (Impact Factor: 1.67). 02/2012; 12(1):53-69. DOI: 10.1586/erp.11.92
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypical, autoimmune, multisystem disease characterized by chronic inflammation in multiple organs. SLE can cause significant and potentially irreversible morbidity, stemming from the relapsing-remitting disease course, the undesirable changes in appearance and the side effects of medication. The prolonged life expectancy and increased prevalence of SLE have imposed challenges on the healthcare system. There is concern that the growing costs of healthcare are becoming unaffordable. Cost analyses evaluating the economic burden of SLE are imperative. This review will summarize the current state-of-the-art regarding the economic burden of SLE and discuss how it could affect clinical and political decisions. Several methodological considerations and unsolved issues will also be emphasized.

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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, disabling, progressive disease, with many associated comorbidities, affecting patients during prime working years resulting in a high economic burden on society, producing high direct, indirect and intangible costs. In this article, our goals are two-fold. First, we review and discuss studies published in the period 2002-2012 concerning costs of SLE and point out gaps in the published literature. Second, we propose further research studies to advance our understanding of the economic perspective in SLE in the current area of new and emerging therapies. The literature evaluating disease costs in SLE remains limited and to date has only included a small number of countries. Despite these limitations, available studies indicate that SLE has significant socio-economic ramifications. Future studies are needed, especially to assess novel biologic therapies which have been made available or currently under investigation for SLE. An interesting approach in these new economic evaluations in SLE may be represented by the selection of the targets of the treatment to include in the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses. Future treat-to-target strategies will likely include evaluation of their pharmacoeconomic implications.
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