Costs of Treating Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension: A Retrospective, Observational Two-Year Chart Review of Newly Diagnosed Patients in Sweden and the United States

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Purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate what treatment strategies prevail in different countries for patients newly diagnosed with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) or ocular hypertension (OH) only and initiated on treatment with beta-blockers, and to estimate the total direct cost of treatment for two years. In addition, differences in costs between and within the countries and the determinants of variations in costs across patients were examined.

Materials and Methods: The authors performed a retrospective medical record analysis in several academic and office-based study centers in Sweden and the United States. Standard costs for each resource item were determined and applied to all centers within the country. Differences in treatment costs within the countries are thus the effect of differences in treatment strategies, not of differences in prices.

Results: There was considerable variation between the centers of each country. Sweden had a higher number of surgical interventions, which may be explained by the fact that the Swedish cohort had a higher mean intraocular pressure (IOP) at baseline and a higher proportion of patients with definite POAG and exfoliation glaucoma. However, in both countries the mean IOP at study end was approximately 18 mm Hg. Total direct costs for two years were 15,119 SEK (US$2,160; $1US = 7 SEK) and $2,109, respectively. In a multiple regression analysis, the estimated effects of baseline IOP and of IOP change after treatment initiation on treatment costs were positively and negatively significant, respectively, in both countries.

Conclusion: Despite differences in baseline diagnosis and in treatment strategies, mean IOP was decreased to 18 mm Hg in both countries. Baseline IOP was positively correlated with treatment costs, while the initial IOP-lowering effect of treatment was negatively correlated with two-year costs.

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