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Vidya Alex*, Sumitha Cheruvallikattil, Suja Abraham, Bincy Varghese


Objective: To perform cost of illness of rheumatoid arthritis in south Indian tertiary care hospital. Methods: A prospective, observational study was conducted for a period of 8 months in Rheumatology department of Amrita institute of medical sciences, Kochi. The cost was collected by patient face-to-face interview. Results: 200 patients enrolled in our study, 82.5% were females with a mean age group of 52.6±10.136. The average cost of illness of RA patients in 2013 was estimated as .2229.99($34)/month. The direct cost for the current treatment of RA was found to be 1929.99 ($29.43)/month which included the cost of medicine 737.49(38.21% of total cost), laboratory cost 295.56 (15.31% of total cost), consultation fee 122.3027 (6.34% of total cost) and personnel cost 316.31 (16.39% of total cost) and transportation cost 380.314(19.71% of total cost). Indirect cost includes lost wages due to disease and is estimated as Rs.300. Methotrexate was the most commonly prescribed DMARD (5.56 % of drug cost). Sulphasalazine consumes about 25.67% of drug cost per month followed by leflunamide (23.12%). Steroids consume about 16.39% of the total cost of drug per month. Cost of NSAIDs comes around 18.78% of the total drug cost per month. Conclusion: The study concluded that the burden of RA to the patients is enormous. Medication costs along with transportation cost are the highest contributors to the total expenses incurred by RA patients. Hence it becomes vital to diagnose and control the disease at an early stage to control the economic burden on the patient.

Keywords: Rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs, Cost of illness.

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