Objective: Economic burden of asthma is an important topic as many patients require chronic therapy and long-term follow up. Severe and uncontrolled asthma and hospitalizations have been shown to be the major factors which increase asthma costs. In this study, we aimed to determine whether the direct costs of asthma changed by evaluating the same 118 patients who participated in our previous study in which direct cost of asthma was investigated in 2000 year.
Materials and Methods: Among patients who involved in the previous study, 53 (49%) patients participated to the current study. Direct cost of asthma was assessed by the costs of physician visits, laboratory tests, medications and hospitalizations related to asthma, if exist. Cost was given both in Turkish Lira (TL) and American Dollars (USD) due to economic inflation in our country.
Results: Mean annual asthma cost in 2000 [659.8 USD (950.1 TL)], was not statistically different from that in 2008 [830.2 USD (963.1 TL)], (p= 0.153). Similar to 2000, the cost increased with the increased severity of asthma in 2008 [severe asthma= 1563 USD (1814 TL), moderate asthma= 857.4 USD (994.5 TL) and mild asthma= 152.8 USD (177.2 TL)] (p< 0.001). The main components of the direct costs were asthma drugs (45%) and hospitalization (40%).
Conclusion: In this preliminary study which evaluated the same patient group within eight years interval, asthma cost has been shown to be unchanged. However, regarding the fact that severe asthma has significant contribution on asthma cost, close follow-up seems to be neccessary of these group of patients. As drugs and hospitalization consisted the major compenents of the direct cost, the strategies which aim to prevent asthma attacks in order to decrease hospitalization need to be included in the health policy. Rationale prescribing should be adopted by physicians in order to prevent unnecessary use of drugs.