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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31818a405a
Original Articles: Special Section on Climate Change and Health

Direct and Indirect Costs to Employers of Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus With and Without Nephritis

Carls, Ginger MA; Li, Tracy PhD; Panopalis, Pantelis MD; Wang, Shaohung PhD; Mell, Amy G. MPH; Gibson, Teresa B. PhD; Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD

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Objectives: To estimate the medical- and productivity-related cost burden of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and SLE with nephritis in an employee population.

Methods: Using administrative data, annual costs were calculated for SLE patients, a subset with nephritis, and a matched control group of patients without SLE. These costs were compared with the cost of other chronic conditions.

Results: Mean annual medical expenditures and short term disability costs for SLE patients were $12,238 and $1184 greater (2005 dollars), respectively, than those of controls. Mean medical expenditures for SLE/nephritis patients were $46,862 greater than for controls. When compared with other chronic health conditions faced by employees, SLE/nephritis was the most costly condition.

Conclusions: SLE, particularly with nephritis, is associated with substantial costs. Therapies that can better manage SLE may provide opportunities for savings to employers.

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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