Economic evaluations and cost analyses in posttraumatic stress disorder: a systematic review

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Rieka von der Warth, Judith Dams , Thomas Grochtdreis & Hans-Helmut König

Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with a high economic burden. Costs of treatment are known to be high, and cost-effectiveness has been analysed for several treatment options.
Objective: As no review on economic aspects of posttraumatic stress disorder exists, the aim of this study was to systematically review costs-of-illness studies and economic evaluations of therapeutic treatment for PTSD, and to assess their quality.
Method: A systematic literature search was performed in March 2017 and was last updated in February 2020 in the databases PubMed, PsychInfo and NHS Economic Evaluation Database. Cost-of-illness studies and economic evaluations of treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder were selected. Extracted cost data were categorized as direct costs and indirect costs and inflated to 2015 US-$ purchasing power parities (PPP). Quality was assessed using an adapted cost-of-illness studies quality checklist, the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria list, and the questionnaire to assess relevance and credibility of modelling studies by the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcome Research.
Results: In total, 13 cost-of-illness studies and 18 economic evaluations were included in the review. Annual direct excess costs ranged from 512 US-$ PPP to 19,435 US-$ PPP and annual indirect excess costs were 5,021 US-$ PPP per person. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy (+selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) was found to be cost-effective compared with treatment as usual and no treatment. Overall, included studies were of low and moderate quality.  Studies used inappropriate economic study designs and lacked information on the economic perspective used.
Conclusions: Posttraumatic stress disorder is a major public health problem that causes high health care costs. While trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy was found to be cost-effective, further investigations regarding pharmacotherapy and other treatments are necessary.

Keywords: Systematic Review; posttraumatic stress disorder; economic evaluation; cost-of-illness; eco-nomic expenditure

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