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Br J Dermatol. 2008 May;158(5):1013-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08477.x. Epub 2008 Mar 20.

Costs and cost-effectiveness of the nursing programme 'Coping with itch' for patients with chronic pruritic skin disease.

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Department of Dermatology, Univrsity Medical Centre Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Itch, a major symptom of many skin diseases, has a great impact on quality of life. The nursing programme 'Coping with itch' aims at reducing itch and at helping patients to cope with itch.


To explore costs and cost-effectiveness of the programme.


A randomized controlled study was carried out with 56 patients. Data were gathered on medical consumption, days off work and the frequency of itching and scratching. Differences between both groups, the cost-effectiveness ratio and the percentage of patients falling into the four quadrants of the cost-effectiveness analysis plane were determined.


The intervention group experienced a gain of 6 days with little itching [95% confidence interval (CI) -16-28] at 3 months and a gain of 35 days (95% CI -33-96) at 9 months. They paid more visits to the dermatology nurse than the control group. The point estimate of the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was euro129.91 and euro16.60 per day with little itching at 3 months and at 9 months, respectively. At 3 months, 70% of the patients experienced favourable results and 14% of them had lower costs. At 9 months, 87% had favourable results and 31% of them had lower costs.


Most of the expenses associated with the 'Coping with itch' programme were incurred during the first 3 months, but the benefits in terms of days with little itch appeared to persist and increase beyond 3 months, thus leading to a more favourable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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