Objective: To estimate the annual direct costs of overactive bladder (OAB) in Germany from a societal perspective.
Methods: Direct costs were calculated based on prevalence figures and medical resource utilisation due to hospitalisation, office-based physician visits, visits to other health care professionals, medication, medical aids and devices, and nursing care.
Results: A total of 6.48 million adults>or=40 yr of age in Germany are affected by OAB, and 2.18 million of these individuals experience incontinence. The annual incidence of comorbidities attributable to OAB is 310,000 for skin infections, 40,000 for falls, 12,000 for fractures, and 26,000 for depression (based on 2004 census data). Direct OAB-related costs per year are euro3.98 billion, with euro1.76 billion covered by statutory health insurance, euro1.80 billion by nursing care insurance, and euro0.41 billion by the patients. Nursing care accounts for euro1.80 billion of total costs (45%), devices account for euro0.68 billion (17%), physician visits account for euro0.65 billion (16%), complications account for euro0.75 billion (19%), and medication accounts for euro0.08 billion (2%).
Conclusion: OAB imposes a substantial economic burden on German health and nursing care, insurance, and on patients with OAB. Direct annual costs are comparable to those of other chronic diseases such as dementia or diabetes mellitus.