Allergy Update 2012: Costs of allergic diseases from birth to two years

Costs of allergic diseases from birth to two years in Finland.

Alanne S, et al.

Public Health. 2012 Oct 1. pii: S0033-3506(12)00207-7.

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Costing studies are needed to identify the resources used for treatment and inform payers of the costs incurred. The objectives were to determine the costs of diagnosing and treating atopic dermatitis, food allergy and asthma, and to compare the share of costs to society and to the family during the first two years of life.

STUDY DESIGN: The data were obtained from an ongoing mother-infant nutrition study. The sample comprised 60 infants who developed allergic disease by the age of 24 months and 56 healthy infants with no allergic disease.

METHODS: The costs included diagnosis and treatment of the allergy, disability allowances, travel expenses and time spent by parents.

RESULTS: The median costs per infant were €275 (range 94-1306) for atopic dermatitis, €1408 (163-5408) for asthma, €3182 (628-11195) for food allergy, and €10 (0-619) for the healthy infants due to the suspicion of allergic disease. The highest costs in atopic dermatitis were caused by primary care visits, topical treatments, travel costs and parents’ time, and those for food allergy by hospital out-patient care, infant formulae for cow’s milk allergy, disability allowances and travel costs. The families paid 43% of the costs arising from atopic dermatitis, 13.6% of those from food allergy and 16.5% of those from asthma.

CONCLUSIONS: Cow’s milk allergy emerged as the most expensive allergic disease, especially for the society, and concurrent asthma in particular further increased the costs.

Source: Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Seinäjoki, Finland; Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Finland. Electronic address: soili.alanne@epshp.fi.

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