Aims: To review cost-of-illness studies (COI) and cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) conducted for anxiety disorders.
Methods: Based on a database search in Pubmed, PsychINFO and NHS EED, studies were classified according to various criteria. Cost data were inflated and converted to 2005 US-$ purchasing power parities (PPP).
Results: We finally identified 20 COI and 11 CEA of which most concentrated on panic disorder (PD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Differing inclusion of cost categories limited comparability of COI. PD and GAD tended to show higher direct costs per case, but lower direct cost per inhabitant than social and specific phobias. Different measures of effectiveness severely limited comparability of CEA. Overall CEA analysed 26 therapeutic or interventional strategies mostly compared to standard treatment, 8 of them resulting in lower better effectiveness and costs than the comparator.
Conclusions: Anxiety disorders cause considerable costs. More research on phobias, more standardised inclusion of cost categories in COI and a wider use of comparable effectiveness measures (like QALYs) in CEA is needed.