Healthcare Utilization and Costs of Patients with Rosacea in an Insured Population

January 2008 | Volume 7 | Issue 1 | Original Article | 41 | Copyright © January 2008

Michael Romanowicz DMD RPh, Judith J Stephenson SM, James Q. Del Rosso DO, Greg Lenhart MS

Background: Rosacea is a chronic, relapsing dermatologic condition that affects an estimated 14 million people in the US. However, there is little data in the literature on the healthcare utilization and costs of patients with rosacea in insured populations. Methods: This retrospective, observational, cohort study used the MarketScan databases to identify a rosacea cohort of patients with medical and prescription drug claims between 2002 and 2005. Inclusion criteria were 1) age 30 years and older, 2) at least one medical claim with a primary or secondary diagnosis of rosacea (ICD-9-CM 695.3), 3) at least one pharmacy claim for a rosacea topical or systemic prescription drug, 4) a 6-month clean period prior to index drug and 12 months continuous enrollment after the index drug. Propensity score matching was used to match the rosacea cohort to a control group of patients without rosacea. Disease severity during the 6-month preperiod was assessed by the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI), the Chronic Disease Score (CDS), and the Elixhauser Index (EI). Healthcare utilization rates and costs were determined by the type of care for the 12-month postperiod. Costs were calculated for the 12-month postperiod and adjusted to reflect 2005 costs. Healthcare utilization rates and costs were reported for inpatient hospital admissions, physician office visits, emergency room visits, other outpatient services, and outpatient pharmacy prescriptions. Both total healthcare and rosacea-related rates and costs were reported. Results: There were no rosacea-related inpatient admissions and very few emergency department visits. More rosacea patients had a specialist visit than a primary care physician visit. The average number of rosacea-related prescriptions, for all patients, was 3.4 (SD 2.7) per year. Total annual healthcare expenditures for the rosacea patient cohort were $735 more than for the matched controls ($6,458 vs. $5,723). Of the total healthcare costs, annual rosacea-related expenditures were $276; approximately 70% of rosacea-related expenditures were due to prescription drugs. Topical drugs were the index drugs for 77% of rosacea patients with branded metronidazole, which is the most common topical drug. Of the 23% of rosacea patients with an oral index drug, generic antibiotic dosage forms of tetracyclines were the most common oral index drug therapy. Conclusions: This is the first extensive study of rosacea and its impact on healthcare utilization and costs in an insured population. Although rosacea is a common illness that does not have much financial impact on its sufferers, rosacea patients incurred slightly higher direct total healthcare costs than matched controls.