Economic Impact

According to an actuarial study on Lyme costs, “37% of the financial costs of this disease is incurred before the correct diagnosis is made.”  According to a 1998 CDC journal study, early Lyme costs averaged $161 per patient and neurologic longstanding Lyme disease averaged $61,243 per year, per patient.

Abstracts

Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Apr;12(4):653-60.

Economic impact of Lyme disease.

Zhang XMeltzer MIPeña CAHopkins ABWroth LFix AD.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA. XZhang4@cdc.gov

Abstract

To assess the economic impact of Lyme disease (LD), the most common vectorborne inflammatory disease in the United States, cost data were collected in 5 counties of the Maryland Eastern Shore from 1997 to 2000. Patients were divided into 5 diagnosis groups, clinically defined early-stage LD, clinically defined late-stage LD, suspected LD, tick bite, and other related complaints. From 1997 to 2000, the mean per patient direct medical cost of early-stage LD decreased from $1,609 to $464 (p<0.05), and the mean per patient direct medical cost of late-stage LD decreased from $4,240 to $1,380 (p<0.05). The expected median of all costs (direct medical cost, indirect medical cost, nonmedical cost, and productivity loss), aggregated across all diagnosis groups of patients, was approximately $281 per patient. These findings will help assess the economics of current and future prevention and control efforts.


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Clin Ther. 1998 Sep-Oct;20(5):993-1008; discussion 992.

A cost-of-illness study of Lyme disease in the United States.

Maes ELecomte PRay N.

The Lewin Group, Mechelen, Belgium.

Erratum in:

  • Clin Ther 1999 Feb;21(2):430.

Abstract

Lyme disease produces a diverse clinical picture that can include serious and potentially debilitating cardiac, neurologic, joint, and skin involvement. It is characterized in three stages--early localized (stage I), early disseminated (stage II), and late disseminated (stage III)--and medical management is highly dependent on the stage at which the patient presents and the physician's awareness of available treatment options. This study was conducted to establish the medical and economic burden of Lyme disease in the overall US population, which included determining its endemicity in high-risk states and counties, describing current treatment patterns, measuring direct and indirect costs, and defining the cost burden by age group (<18 years and > or =18 years of age). Medical, epidemiologic, and economic data were collected, and an algorithm was developed representing the natural course of Lyme disease and the progress of health states over time following medical intervention. Using an annual mean incidence of 4.73 cases of Lyme disease per 100,000 population in the decision analysis model yielded an expected national expenditure of $2.5 billion (1996 dollars) over 5 years for therapeutic interventions to prevent 55,626 cases of Lyme disease sequelae. This estimate included both direct medical and indirect costs. However, there is evidence of considerable variation in incidence within states. Our findings support development of vaccination strategies for specific target groups.


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Ann Intern Med. 1998 Jan 1;128(1):37-48.

Test-treatment strategies for patients suspected of having Lyme disease: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

Nichol GDennis DTSteere ACLightfoot RWells GShea BTugwell P.

Ottawa Civic Hospital, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

PURPOSE: To examine the cost-effectiveness of test-treatment strategies for patients suspected of having Lyme disease. DATA SOURCES: The medical literature was searched for information on outcomes and costs. Expert opinion was sought for information on utilities. STUDY SELECTION: Articles that described patient population, diagnostic criteria, dose and duration of therapy, and criteria for assessment of outcomes. DATA EXTRACTION: The decision analysis evaluated the following strategies: 1) no testing-no treatment; 2) testing with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) followed by antibiotic treatment of patients with positive results; 3) two-step testing with ELISA followed by Western blot and antibiotic treatment for patients with positive results on either test; and 4) empirical antibiotic therapy. Three patient scenarios were considered: myalgic symptoms, rash resembling erythema migrans, and recurrent oligoarticular inflammatory arthritis. Results were calculated as costs per quality-adjusted life-year and were subjected to sensitivity analysis. Adjustment was made for the diagnostic value of common clinical features of Lyme disease. DATA SYNTHESIS: For myalgic symptoms without other features suggestive of Lyme disease, the no testing-no treatment strategy was most economically attractive (that is, had the most favorable cost-effectiveness ratio). For rash, empirical antibiotic therapy was less costly and more effective than other strategies. For oligoarticular arthritis with a history of rash and tick bite, two-step testing was associated with the lowest cost-effectiveness ratio. Testing with ELISA and empirical antibiotic therapy cost an additional $880,000 and $34,000 per quality-adjusted life-year, respectively. For oligoarticular arthritis with one or no other features suggestive of Lyme disease, two-step testing was most economically attractive. CONCLUSIONS: Neither testing nor antibiotic treatment is cost-effective if the pretest probability of Lyme disease is low. Empirical antibiotic therapy is recommended if the pretest probability is high, and two-step testing is recommended if the pretest probability is intermediate.


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Public Health Rep. 1994 Nov-Dec;109(6):745-9.

Antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease in Maryland.

Strickland GTCaisley IWoubeshet MIsrael E.

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore 21201.

Abstract

The recommended treatment of Lyme disease is evolving and important questions remain unanswered, such as (a) Are inexpensive oral regimens effective in curing acute illness and preventing arthritic, neurologic, and cardiac manifestations or are much more costly, and potentially toxic, intravenous antibiotics required? (b) Are relatively short 2- to 3-week courses of antibiotics sufficient or are prolonged regimens of a month, or more, better? This study reviews antibiotic therapy prescribed by Maryland physicians for the 283 cases reported in 1991 that meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's case definition for Lyme disease. The purpose of the review was to obtain baseline information on the antibiotics being used by physicians in practice to treat patients that they believe have Lyme disease. The most frequently prescribed antibiotics for either the 60 percent of patients presenting with erythema migrans or the 40 percent with arthritic, neurologic, or cardiac manifestations were oral doxycycline (47 percent), tetracycline (11 percent), and amoxicillin (13 percent). Seventy-one percent of therapeutic courses were for 2 to 3 weeks. Amoxicillin was used in two-thirds of children younger than 8 years. Sixty (21 percent) received intravenous therapy, of which ceftriaxone, with or without other antibiotics, was almost always (95 percent) used. Intravenous therapy was more frequently given to those with arthritic, neurologic, and cardiac manifestations than to those with erythema migrans (odds ratio = 3.7) and to those with these systemic symptoms along with erythema migrans than to those with erythema migrans alone (odds ratio = 3.8). The average course was 2 days longer in treating those with arthritic, neurologic, or cardiac manifestations than in treating those with erythema migrans alone(P = 0.05).An epidemiologic assessment of antibiotics prescribed by the physicians in Maryland to treat Lyme disease in 1991 shows the choices, dosage, and duration of drugs generally followed those most frequently recommended in the literature. Also, it shows that efforts to educate physicians should be directed more towards the diagnosis rather than the treatment of Lyme disease.

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Clin Ther. 1998 Sep-Oct;20(5):993-1008; discussion 992.

A cost-of-illness study of Lyme disease in the United States.

Maes ELecomte PRay N.

The Lewin Group, Mechelen, Belgium.

Erratum in:

  • Clin Ther 1999 Feb;21(2):430.

Abstract

Lyme disease produces a diverse clinical picture that can include serious and potentially debilitating cardiac, neurologic, joint, and skin involvement. It is characterized in three stages--early localized (stage I), early disseminated (stage II), and late disseminated (stage III)--and medical management is highly dependent on the stage at which the patient presents and the physician's awareness of available treatment options. This study was conducted to establish the medical and economic burden of Lyme disease in the overall US population, which included determining its endemicity in high-risk states and counties, describing current treatment patterns, measuring direct and indirect costs, and defining the cost burden by age group (<18 years and > or =18 years of age). Medical, epidemiologic, and economic data were collected, and an algorithm was developed representing the natural course of Lyme disease and the progress of health states over time following medical intervention. Using an annual mean incidence of 4.73 cases of Lyme disease per 100,000 population in the decision analysis model yielded an expected national expenditure of $2.5 billion (1996 dollars) over 5 years for therapeutic interventions to prevent 55,626 cases of Lyme disease sequelae. This estimate included both direct medical and indirect costs. However, there is evidence of considerable variation in incidence within states. Our findings support development of vaccination strategies for specific target groups.


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