Cost of illness from occupational hand eczema in Germany

Contact Dermatitis. 2013 Aug;69(2):99-106. doi: 10.1111/cod.12038.


Background: There is little knowledge about the costs of occupational hand eczema.

Objectives: To estimate the societal costs of patients with occupational hand eczema in Germany.

Methods: Resource use during the past year, disease severity and quality of life [Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI)] were gathered for patients with occupational hand eczema before they entered a special rehabilitation programme. Costs were calculated from the societal perspective. The analysis focused on all patients and the severity groups no signs/mild (group A) and moderate to severe (group B).

Results: One hundred and fifty-one patients were analysed, with a mean age of 44.9~years and a mean DLQI score of 10.9; 64.9% were male. Sickness absence was recorded for 62.9% of all patients (76.4~days on average in the last 12~months). Annual societal costs were €8799 per patient. Indirect costs represented 70% of total costs. Quality of life (DLQI) was statistically different across both severity groups (group A, 7.9; group B, 12.9), but direct treatment costs were not (€2705 versus €2610, respectively). There was a trend towards higher indirect costs in patients in severity group B (group A, €5120; group B, €6796).

Conclusion: The annual societal costs of patients with occupational hand eczema in this study are high, and similar to those for severe psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Keywords: contact dermatitis; costs; economics; hand eczema; occupational skin diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost of Illness
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / economics*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / therapy
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Eczema / economics*
  • Eczema / therapy
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Hand Dermatoses / economics*
  • Hand Dermatoses / therapy
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests / economics
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sick Leave / economics*
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / economics