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Economic and humanistic burden of illness in generalized anxiety disorder: an analysis of patient survey data in Europe

Authors Toghanian S, DiBonaventura M, Järbrink K, Locklear J

Received 4 October 2013

Accepted for publication 17 January 2014

Published 2 April 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 151—163


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Samira Toghanian,1 Marco DiBonaventura,2 Krister Järbrink,1 Julie C Locklear3

1AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal, Sweden; 2Kantar Health, New York, NY, USA; 3AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, DE, USA

Background: Whilst studies suggest that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) represents a considerable health care burden in Europe, there is a paucity of published evidence. This study investigated the burden of illness associated with GAD across five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK).
Methods: Information from the 2008 European National Health and Wellness Survey database was analyzed. Bivariate, multivariate, and cost analyses were used to compare patients with GAD and propensity-matched controls.
Results: Compared with non-GAD controls, patients with GAD had more comorbidities and were more likely to smoke but less likely to be employed, use alcohol, or take exercise. They also had significantly worse health-related quality of life, and significantly greater work impairment and resource use, which increased as GAD severity increased. Within-country analyses demonstrated results similar to those for the five European countries overall, with the largest differences in resource use between patients with GAD and non-GAD controls documented in France and Germany. The average mean differences in direct costs were relatively small between the GAD groups and controls; however, indirect costs differed substantially. Costs were particularly high in Germany, mainly due to higher salaries leading to higher costs associated with absence from work. The limitation of this study was that the data were from a self-reported Internet survey, making them subject to reporting bias and possibly sample bias.
Conclusion: Across all five European countries, GAD had a significant impact on work impairment, resource use, and economic costs, representing a considerable individual and financial burden that increased with severity of disease. These data may help us to understand better the burden and costs associated with GAD.

Keywords: generalized anxiety disorder, Europe, economic burden, burden of illness

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