The Cost of Urinary Incontinence in Italian Women: A Cross-Sectional Study
Objective: To offer cost estimates of urinary incontinence (UI) in the general population based on prospectively collected data. Design: We analysed individual costs in a sample of women with UI who were identified in the framework of a cross-sectional study on the prevalence of UI in women aged >40 years. Setting: Six areas in Italy. Intervention: Home interview. Patients and participants: Women were identified among the patients registered with a network of general practitioners operating in each area using computer-generated random number lists. Results: A total of 2767 women were identified. Of these, 408 (14.7%) reported UI during the year before the interview and 229 underwent a detailed interview on UI-related costs. On the basis of this information, we estimated the direct costs associated with UI from the perspective of the Italian National Health Service (INHS). The lifetime cost per patient of diagnosis was 80 131 Italian lire (L) (exchange rate: $US1 = L1618). Consultations accounted for only 20% of the diagnostic cost, diagnostic tests for 36% and hospital admissions for diagnostic procedures accounted for 44%. The diagnosis cost estimate seems low, partly because several women did not request either consultations or diagnostic tests (the overall rate per patient was 0.76 for consultations and 0.39 for diagnostic tests). The only appreciable treatment cost, according to the INHS perspective, was for diapers. The annual cost per patient for diapers was L255 519. The prevalence of UI in women aged >40 years in Italy is estimated in the study at 9.3%. Thus, combining this information with the cost estimates, the annual treatment cost of UI in Italian women aged >40 years is L351 800 billion, considering diapers and drugs only. Conclusion: This study has estimated the individual cost of UI in the general population. These figures may be useful when designing economic evaluations of UI.
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