Direct and indirect costs to employers of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus with and without nephritis

J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Jan;51(1):66-79. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31818a405a.


Objectives: To estimate the medical- and productivity-related cost burden of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and SLE with nephritis in an employee population.

Methods: Using administrative data, annual costs were calculated for SLE patients, a subset with nephritis, and a matched control group of patients without SLE. These costs were compared with the cost of other chronic conditions.

Results: Mean annual medical expenditures and short term disability costs for SLE patients were $12,238 and $1184 greater (2005 dollars), respectively, than those of controls. Mean medical expenditures for SLE/nephritis patients were $46,862 greater than for controls. When compared with other chronic health conditions faced by employees, SLE/nephritis was the most costly condition.

Conclusions: SLE, particularly with nephritis, is associated with substantial costs. Therapies that can better manage SLE may provide opportunities for savings to employers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Health Benefit Plans, Employee / economics
  • Health Care Costs* / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Expenditures* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Reporting
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Logistic Models
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / economics*
  • Lupus Nephritis / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sick Leave / economics*
  • United States
  • Young Adult