Economic burden of schizophrenia in Italy: a probabilistic cost of illness analysis

BMJ Open. 2018 Feb 8;8(2):e018359. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018359.


Objectives: Schizophrenia is a chronic, debilitating psychiatric disease with highly variable treatment pathways and consequent economic impacts on resource utilisation. The aim of the study was to estimate the economic burden of schizophrenia in Italy for both the societal and Italian National Healthcare perspective.

Methods: A probabilistic cost of illness model was applied. A systematic literature review was carried out to identify epidemiological and economic data. Direct costs were calculated in terms of drugs, hospitalisations, specialist services, residential and semiresidential facilities. Indirect costs were calculated on the basis of patients' and caregivers' loss of productivity. In addition, the impact of disability compensation was taken into account using a database from the Italian National Social Security Institute -Italy (INPS).

Results: Overall, 303 913 prevalent patients with schizophrenia were estimated. Of these, 212 739 (70%) were diagnosed and 175 382 (82%) were treated with antipsychotics. The total economic burden was estimated at €2.7 billion (95% CI €1771.93 to €3988.65), 50.5% due to indirect costs and 49.5% to direct costs. Drugs corresponded to 10% of direct costs and hospitalisations (including residential and semiresidential facilities) accounted for 81%.

Conclusions: This study highlighted that indirect costs and hospitalisations (including residential and semiresidential facilities) play a major role within the expenses associated with schizophrenia in Italy, and this may be considered as a tool for public decision-makers.

Keywords: Italy; burden of disease; cost Of illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / economics*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Caregivers / economics
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / economics
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / economics*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents