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The personal, societal, and economic burden of schizophrenia in the People's Republic of China: implications for antipsychotic therapy

Authors Montgomery W, Liu L, Stensland MD, Xue HB, Treuer T, Ascher-Svanum H

Received 21 February 2013

Accepted for publication 15 April 2013

Published 14 August 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 407—418

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CEOR.S44325

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

William Montgomery,1 Li Liu,2 Michael D Stensland,5 Hai Bo Xue,2 Tamas Treuer,4 Haya Ascher-Svanum3


1Eli Lilly and Company, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 2Lilly Suzhou Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd, Shanghai, People's Republic of China; 3Eli Lilly and Company, Global Health Outcomes, Indianapolis, IN, USA; 4Eli Lilly and Company, Budapest, Hungary; 5Agile Outcomes Research, Inc, Rochester, MN, USA

Background: This article describes the personal, societal, and economic burden attributable to schizophrenia in the People's Republic of China and highlights the potential for effective outpatient treatment to reduce this burden given recent changes in the Chinese health care system. The importance of effective antipsychotic therapy in reducing the burden of schizophrenia is also examined.
Methods: Published research on the burden, disability, management, and economic costs of schizophrenia in the People's Republic of China was examined in the context of the larger body of global research. Research written in English or Chinese and published before June 2012 was identified using PubMed, CNKI, and Wanfang Med database searches. The contribution of effective antipsychotic therapy in reducing the risk for relapse and hospitalization and improving patients' functioning is described.
Results: Schizophrenia imposes a substantial burden on Chinese society, with indirect costs accounting for the majority of the total cost. Functional impairment is high, leading to lost wages and work impairment. In the People's Republic of China, schizophrenia is the most common diagnosis among hospitalized psychiatric patients. Ongoing changes in the Chinese health care system may reduce some barriers to effective relapse prevention in schizophrenia and potentially reduce hospitalizations. The use of antipsychotics for acute episodes and maintenance treatment has been shown to decrease symptom severity and reduce the risk for relapse and hospitalization. However, discontinuing antipsychotic medication appears common and is a strong predictor of relapse. Cost-effectiveness research in the People's Republic of China is needed to examine the potential gains from improved outpatient antipsychotic treatment.
Conclusion: Schizophrenia is a very costly mental illness in terms of personal, economic, and societal burden, both in the People's Republic of China and globally. When treated effectively, patients tend to persist longer with antipsychotic treatment, have fewer costly relapses, and have improved functioning. Further research examining the long-term effects of reducing barriers to effective treatments on the societal burden of schizophrenia in the People's Republic of China is needed.

Keywords: People's Republic of China, schizophrenia, relapse, review, health care costs, antipsychotic agents

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