The economic impact of overactive bladder syndrome in six Western countries

BJU Int. 2009 Jan;103(2):202-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2008.08036.x.


Objective: To calculate up-to-date estimates of the economic impact of overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) with and without urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) on the health sector of six countries (Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK), as OAB is a significant health concern for adults aged >18 years living in Western countries.

Materials and methods: The prevalence data derived from the EPIC study were combined with healthcare resource-use data to derive current direct and indirect 1-year or annual cost of illness estimates for OAB including UUI in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. This model estimates the direct healthcare costs attributed to OAB, as well as the impact of work absenteeism.

Results: The estimated average annual direct cost of OAB per patient ranged between 262 in Spain and 619 in Sweden. The estimated total direct cost burden for OAB per country ranges between 333 million in Sweden and 1.2 billion in Germany and the total annual direct cost burden of OAB in these six countries is estimated at 3.9 billion. In addition, nursing home costs were estimated at 4.7 billion per year and it was estimated that work absenteeism related to OAB costs 1.1 billion per year.

Conclusions: The cost of illness for OAB is a substantial economic and human burden. This study may under-estimate the true economic burden, as not all costs for sequelae associated with OAB have been included. Cost-effective treatments and management strategies that can reduce the burden of OAB and in particular UUI have the potential to significantly reduce this economic burden.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / complications
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / economics*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / complications
  • Urinary Incontinence / economics*
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Young Adult