Costs of UK community care for individuals with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa: Findings of the Prospective Epidermolysis Bullosa Longitudinal Evaluation Study

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Abstract

Background: Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is a rare inherited skin fragility disorder requiring multidisciplinary management. Information regarding costs of current standard treatment is scant. Objectives: As part of a longitudinal natural history study, we explored the community care costs of UK patients with different forms of RDEB. Methods: Fifty-nine individuals with RDEB provided detailed information on multiple facets of RDEB including disease severity scores (iscorEB, BEBS) and patient reported outcomes (quality of life evaluation in epidermolysis bullosa, iscorEB patient questionnaire). Costs data included time spent doing dressings, frequency of dressing changes, details of materials used, and paid and unpaid care. Results: Overall costs of dressing materials and associated care were high in RDEB. Median annual costs across all subtypes for those using dressings (n = 51) were over £26 000. For severe RDEB (RDEB-S), median costs were almost £90 000 per annum, with a median of 18 h per week spent on dressing changes. Half of working-age adults with RDEB were unemployed and 39% of carers were unable to take on full-time or part-time paid employment, adding to indirect costs and the financial burden from RDEB on families and society. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the high costs of care of RDEB, particularly for RDEB-S. The current expense supports the drive to develop new therapies which accelerate wound healing and diminish total wound burden, thereby reducing costs of dressings and care. While costly to bring to market, these might ultimately reduce the overall cost of treatment and also the impact on individuals living with this rare disease. The data also highlight the need for adequate reimbursement for EB care which can place significant financial strain on families.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere314
JournalSkin Health and Disease
Volume4
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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