[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess costs related to systemic sclerosis (SSc) and their determinants.
The Canadian Scleroderma Research Group is comprised of 15 centers contributing to a registry of adult patients with SSc. Available cross-sectional data included clinical variables and standardized measures of health resource use and time loss. Annualized averages of direct medical costs were calculated by multiplying health service utilization levels by the appropriate unit prices, determined from government fee schedules, professional associations, and other sources. Indirect costs were calculated from the subjects' self-reported time loss related to illness and to seeking health care, as well as caregiver time losses. Costs were represented in 2007 Canadian dollars.
In the sample of 457 patients with SSc, the average direct cost per patient was $5,038 per year (95% confidence interval [95% CI] $4,400, $5,676). Regarding indirect costs, the value of potential productivity loss related to paid labor was estimated at an average of $5,345 per patient per year (95% CI $4,598, $6,092), and the cost of lost productivity related to unpaid labor contributed another $8,070 per patient annually. The average total annual cost was estimated at $18,453 (95% CI $16,598, $20,308) per patient. Total annual costs were strongly associated with younger age, greater disease severity, and poorer health status.
Costs related to SSc are considerable, and there is a high impact of disease severity and health status on economic burden.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess physician service use in a large sample of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), and to determine factors associated with physician use.
Our sample was a national SSc registry maintaining data on demographics (age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income) and clinical factors (disease onset, organ involvement, etc.). Registry cohort members completed detailed questionnaires, and rheumatologists provided clinical assessments. We examined cross-sectional data from 397 patients who provided information on physician visits in the past 12 months. Patients were classified as high physician-users if they reported more than the median number (6) of physician visits in the past year. In multivariate logistic regressions, we assessed the independent effects of race/ethnicity, education, degree of skin involvement, comorbidity, and SF-36 scores on physician use.
On average, subjects reported 3.8 visits per year to specialty physicians (SD 4.2) and 3.5 visits per year to family physicians (SD 4.3). Regression models suggested the following factors as independently associated with number of physician visits: high skin scores, greater comorbidity, and low physical component summary scores on the SF-36.
There is evidence of independent relationships between clinical characteristics and physician use by patients with SSc.
The Journal of Rheumatology 12/2008; 36(1):96-8. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the number of live births in women whose systemic sclerosis (SSc) onset occurred during their reproductive years, and to compare this with general population rates.
Within the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group cohort, we identified 320 women whose SSc symptoms began prior to age 50 years. We determined the number of children born in the years following first onset of symptoms. We summed the years of followup from the time of first symptoms in subjects up to age 50 years (or oldest age attained, if the subject was age <49 years). We applied age-specific birth rates for Canadian women to these years of followup in order to determine the expected number of live births for the period. We then calculated the standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of observed to expected live births.
In the 320 women studied, the number of live births over the interval since symptom onset was below the expected number (111 live births observed versus 140 expected; SIR 0.79, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.65-0.95). This finding was more prominent in women with diffuse cutaneous disease versus limited cutaneous disease. The mean and median numbers of live births were similar across SSc subgroups based on organ involvement or cyclophosphamide exposure. In repeat analyses, including the reproductive period before SSc symptom onset, the ratio of observed to expected births was 1.23 (95% CI 1.13-1.33).
Compared with the general population, fewer live births were noted in women with SSc, but this phenomenon was only apparent in the period after symptom onset.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate rheumatology practice in Canada with regard to evaluating disease activity status and treatment regimens in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was hypothesized that patients with "smoldering" disease activity were not being adequately treated.
Rheumatologists were invited to participate by the Canadian Rheumatology Association in an audit entitled the Assessment in Rheumatology (AIR) program. From across Canada, 65 rheumatologists participated. One thousand five hundred ninety-six consecutive patients with RA seen in regular clinics were classified according to 4 states of disease activity: remission, controlled adequately, smoldering, and uncontrolled. Demographics (age, sex, geographic region), therapy (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, biologicals, steroids), joint counts (tender/swollen), comorbidity, and treatment decisions at the time of the visit were recorded. Data were collected at the time of the visit with personal digital assistants (PDA) and aggregated, without personal identifiers, for analysis in SPSS.
The majority of patients had "smoldering" (29%) or "uncontrolled" disease (23%), with the remainder in "remission" (15%) or "controlled adequately" (33%) at the time of their visit. Following the appointment, the uncontrolled group had a 100% increase (from 10.4% to 23.4%) in the addition of biological agents; however, there was no significant increase in the rates for those with smoldering disease (19.4% to 20.5%).
Despite Canada's universal healthcare system, current treatment regimens may not be optimized on the basis of disease activity. A large proportion of patients with RA (29%) seen in Canadian rheumatology practices may be experiencing unnecessary disease for a variety of reasons.
The Journal of Rheumatology 07/2008; 35(8):1506-12. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare connective tissue disorder whose aetiology remains obscure, although environmental and genetic influences are likely to play a role. Disease registries have contributed to enhancing our understanding of this debilitating illness, but without sensitive, specific, and extensively validated classification criteria, accurate comparison between registries and the identification of patients suitable for clinical trials can be problematic. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria, published in 1980, have become outdated as our understanding of disease specific autoantibodies and nailfold capillaroscopy has improved. In addition, the sensitivity of the ACR criteria is low with respect to limited SSc. Although subsequent classification systems have been proposed, none has gained universal approval. The two- versus three-subset disease model remains a point of debate. Newly derived criteria are likely to draw upon the older classification systems as well as incorporating up-to-date diagnostic techniques and biomarkers. Validation will be critical before their use becomes widespread.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the safety and efficacy of intravenous (IV) pamidronate treatment in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients who have had a suboptimal response to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Pamidronate at 60 mg was compared with pamidronate at 10 mg rather than placebo in view of the high incidence of transient arthralgias upon first IV exposure to the drug. The drug were given monthly for 6 months in a randomized double-blind, controlled trial. The inclusion criterion was active disease (Bath AS Disease Activity Index [BASDAI] of > or = 4 or morning stiffness of > or = 45 minutes) despite stable NSAID therapy. The primary outcome measure was the BASDAI, and secondary outcomes included the Bath AS Functional Index (BASFI), Bath AS Global Index (BASGI), Bath AS Metrology Index (BASMI), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) level, and percentage of patients achieving a reduction of > or = 25% in the BASDAI. Outcome assessments were done at -2, 0, 12, and 24 weeks, and analysis was by intent to treat.
Eighty-four AS patients (67 men and 17 women; mean age 39.6 years and mean disease duration 15.1 years) were enrolled. Dosage groups were well matched at baseline for demographics, disease activity, and functional indices. At 6 months, the mean BASDAI had decreased by 2.22 (34.5%) in the 60-mg group and by 0.93 (15%) in the 10-mg group (P = 0.002). Significantly greater reductions in the 60-mg group were also noted for the BASFI (P < 0.001), BASGI (P = 0.01), and BASMI (P = 0.03). Significantly more patients achieved a reduction of > or = 25% in the BASDAI in the 60-mg group versus the 10-mg group (63.4% versus 30.2%; P = 0.004). Differences in ESR/CRP were not significant (NS). Withdrawals included 9 (20.9%) from the 10-mg group and 3 (7.3%) from the 60-mg group (P NS). Adverse events were confined to transient arthralgias/myalgias after the first IV infusion, occurring in 68.3% and 46.5% of patients in the 60-mg and 10-mg groups, respectively (P NS).
Pamidronate has dose-dependent therapeutic properties in AS.