Longitudinal Study of Effects of Patient Characteristics on Direct Costs in Alzheimer Disease

Zhu, Carolyn W.; Scarmeas, Nikolaos; Torgan, Rebecca L.; Albert, Marilyn; Brandt, Jason; Blacker, Deborah; Sano, Mary; Stern, Yaakov

OBJECTIVES: To estimate long-term trajectories of direct cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) and examine the effects of patients' characteristics on cost longitudinally. METHODS: The sample is drawn from the Predictors Study, a large, multicenter cohort of patients with probable AD, prospectively followed up annually for up to 7 years in three university-based AD centers in the United States. Random effects models estimated the effects of patients' clinical and sociodemographic characteristics on direct cost of care. Direct cost included cost associated with medical and nonmedical care. Clinical characteristics included cognitive status (measured by Mini-Mental State Examination), functional capacity (measured by Blessed Dementia Rating Scale [BDRS]), psychotic symptoms, behavioral problems, depressive symptoms, extrapyramidal signs, and comorbidities. The model also controlled for patients' sex, age, and living arrangements. RESULTS: Total direct cost increased from approximately 9,239 dollars per patient per year at baseline, when all patients were at the early stages of the disease, to 19,925 dollars by year 4. After controlling for other variables, a one-point increase in the BDRS score increased total direct cost by 7.7%. One more comorbid condition increased total direct cost by 14.3%. Total direct cost was 20.8% lower for patients living at home compared with those living in an institutional setting. CONCLUSIONS: Total direct cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer disease increased substantially over time. Much of the cost increases were explained by patients' clinical and demographic variables. Comorbidities and functional capacity were associated with higher direct cost over time.


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February 23, 2018