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Eur Respir J. 1998 Dec;12(6):1322-6.

Costs of asthma according to the degree of severity.

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  • 1Service of Pneumology, Hospital General de Vic, Barcelona, Spain.


An increase in asthma-related morbidity and mortality has been reported recently, resulting in a substantial increase in the economic impact of this condition. Little information is available relating to the costs of asthma depending on the degree of severity of the disease. Total, direct and indirect costs generated by asthma patients who sought medical care for asthma control over a one-year period in a northern area of Spain were determined. Data were obtained from the patients themselves and severity of illness was classified into mild, moderate and severe according to the International Consensus Report on Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma, 1992. The average total annual asthma-derived cost was estimated at US$2,879 per patient, with averages of US$1,336 in mildly asthmatic patients, US$2,407 in moderate asthma and US$6,393 in severe asthma. At all levels of severity, indirect costs were twice as high as direct costs, and at the same degree of severity, direct costs due to medication and hospitalization were higher among females than males. A minority of severe asthmatics incurred some 41% of the total costs. The cost of asthma was surprisingly high and varied substantially depending on the degree of severity of the disease. Further knowledge of the costs of asthma across various levels of severity will contribute to a better characterization of optimal intervention strategies for asthma care.

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