Cost of treatment of childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus

Hermine I. Brunner*, Tina M. Sherrard, Marisa S. Klein-Gitelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the direct cost of care of children with childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE), and to determine the direct cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) with cSLE. Methods. Administrative databases from 2 large tertiary pediatric rheumatology centers in the United States were reviewed for all patients with cSLE (n = 119) diagnosed and regularly treated in these centers between January 2001 and April 2004. Health-related quality of life estimates for patients with cSLE (n = 297) reported in the literature were used to calculate QALYs based on global health ratings of the Child Health Questionnaire (range 0-100). Results. Information on 3,184 patient-months of followup was included in the analysis. During a mean ± SD followup of 27 ± 11.8 months, the direct cost of care for the cohort amounted to $3,965,048, excluding outpatient medications. Irrespective of patient sex, the mean ± SD cost of cSLE per month was $1,245 ± $2,352, or ∼$14,944 per year. Inpatient and day hospital care accounted for 28% of the cost, laboratory testing accounted for 21%, inpatient/day-patient medication costs accounted for 13%, and dialysis accounted for 11%. Visits to the rheumatology clinic only contributed 9% to the direct cost of care. When including an estimated outpatient medication cost of $1,190, the direct cost of cSLE per QALY was $30,908. Conclusion. Children diagnosed with cSLE were found to have a considerable direct cost of care. The treatment of cSLE appears to be far more costly than that of adult SLE and juvenile idiopathic arthritis reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-188
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis Care and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2006


  • Children
  • Cost
  • Lupus
  • Systemic lupus erythomatosus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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