The real costs of acromegaly: analysis of different therapies


Michał Elbaum, Łukasz Mizera, Marek Bolanowski

Acromegaly is a rare, chronic condition caused by growth hormone (GH) overproduction, usually due to a benign tumour of the pituitary gland. During the disease many complications occur, including cardiovascular disease and changes in the musculoskeletal, respiratory, and endocrine systems. Treatment includes surgery, medical therapy, and radiation. In this paper a literature review was conducted for information related to costs of management of acromegaly and its associated comorbidities using PubMed.The majority of total costs represent pharmacological treatment, especially the most common somatostatin analogues (SSA) therapy. The average reported annual cost of SSA therapy is EUR 12,000–40,000. Surgery reduces the cost of care via the possibility of avoiding lifelong pharmacological treatment. Radiotherapy is also suggested to lower the costs of therapy because about 60% of patients eventually will not require further pharmacological treatment; however, it is connected with negative outcomes like hypopituitarism, lower quality of life, and increased mortality. Cabergoline and pegvisomant are the lowest and highest priced treatments, respectively, but the overall impact on the cost of therapy is minor due to less frequent usage of these drugs. It is hard to fully estimate the impact of comorbidities of acromegaly on financial burden because patients are treated for them many years before the diagnosis of the underlying pathology. The treatment cost of comorbidities is higher in uncontrolled patients. Life-long treatment of acromegaly and its comorbidities is very expensive. Early diagnosis and successful treatment reduce direct and indirect costs.

Keywords: acromegaly; therapy; costs; pharmacoeconomics

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