Aims: To characterize symptom severity of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) in people with diabetes and to characterize its association with healthcare resource use.
Methods: The study was undertaken in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, UK. A postal survey was posted to subjects identified as having diabetes. Demography, quality of life (EQ-5D and SF-36) and symptoms of neuropathy (NTSS-6 and QOL-DN) data were collected. These data were linked to routine healthcare data coded into healthcare resource groups (HRGs) and subsequently costed according to UK National reference costs.
Results: Survey responses were received from 1298 patients, a 32% response rate. For patients with a clinically confirmed diagnosis of DPN, the mean NTSS-6-SA score was 6.16 vs. 3.19 (P < 0.001). Duration of diabetes did not change across groups defined by severity of neuropathy symptoms, but mean HbA(1c) and body mass index values did increase with symptom severity (range 7.6-8.1%, P = 0.023; and 28.0-30.9 kg/m(2), P < 0.001, respectively). General linear modelling showed that the NTSS-6-SA score was a significant predictor of both annual health resource costs and yearly prescribed drug costs. On average, each 1-point increase in NTSS-6-SA score predicted a 6% increase in primary and secondary care costs and a 3% increase in log transformed drug costs.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that severity of DPN symptoms was associated with increased healthcare resource use, thus costs.