Study Underscores Economic Burden of Lupus in America
Americans with moderate to severe lupus disease activity access healthcare resources more often and have higher medical costs. Researchers analyzed the association between disease severity and costs (using healthcare administrative claims information integrated with electronic health records (EHR)) to determine utilization and costs in lupus. The EHRs of 17,257 people with lupus between 2011 and 2015 were examined.
- Data showed that healthcare utilization activity was generally the same each year studied. About 14% of people with lupus had greater than or equal to 1 hospitalization per year, 25.7% had greater than or equal to 1 emergency department (ED) visit, and 94.4% had greater than or equal to 1 outpatient visit.
- Those with greater than or equal to 1 ED visit per year, proportionately increased their visits from 22.8% in 2011 to 29.3% in 2015.
- Annually, greater than or equal to 1 prescription was filled by 88.0% of people with lupus, which includes 1.3% people who used treatments derived from living organisms (also called biologics, such as Benlysta).
- Those prescribed biologics increased from 0.7% in 2011 to 1.4% in 2015.
- Antimalarial and corticosteroid prescriptions decreased each year studied.
- Data revealed higher costs for people with severe lupus ($52,951 average per year), compared with moderate disease ($28,936) and mild disease ($21,052).
- Those with severe disease activity had increased costs in all service categories: inpatient (36.9%), ED (38.3%), clinic/office visits, and pharmacy (4.7%).
Developing new treatments for lupus that modify disease activity and lessen use of steroids can lower healthcare costs and utilization. Learn more about financial assistance for healthcare and financial help for children with lupus.
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