Armstrong A, Hahn-Pedersen J, Bartlett C, Glanville J, Thyssen JP.
There has been no extensive synthesis of studies evaluating the cost of chronic hand eczema (CHE). This review evaluated the societal costs, healthcare resource utilisation, missed work time and job loss due to CHE. MEDLINE and 16 other databases and websites were searched in October 2020 for studies meeting prespecified inclusion criteria. Studies conducted in Europe, Australia, New Zealand or the Americas were included. Two reviewers independently assessed titles and abstracts, and full-text papers published in English between 2000 and 2020, for relevance. Data extraction was carried out by one reviewer and checked by a second reviewer. All data were based on costs between 2001 and 2013 but have been inflated to 2020 prices and converted to US dollars and Euros. A total of 30 studies (reported in 33 publications) were included in the synthesis. Mean total societal costs per year per patient ranged from $2549 (€1813) to $10,883 (€7738). Pharmacological therapy was, on average, $28.34 (€20.15) per month in Italy and $36.49 (€25.94) per month for emollients in Switzerland. Yearly treatment costs were $599.05 (€425.92) for drugs, including topical corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, other topical treatments and oral treatments, and $178.40 for emollients, in Germany. CHE was associated with hospitalisation costs ranging from $81.86 (€58.20) per patient per month (US) to $105.04 (€74.68) per patient per month (Italy) and $639.59 (€454.75) per year (Germany). Up to 57% of patients took sick leave and up to 25% reported job loss/job change due to CHE. This review confirms the significant cost burden of CHE. Given the paucity of studies estimating the monetary costs of absenteeism, presenteeism and job loss associated with CHE, current mean societal costs are likely underestimated. Uncontrolled disease may also lead to increased costs to patients and society.