Objectives: To document the total direct (public and private) and indirect health costs associated with PDD.
Methods: Information were collected by 99 PDD-parent questionnaire completed at two specialized Centres. Both public and private health costs (health services, prescription medications, complementary and alternative therapies, hospital and emergency services, home health and medically related travel, home modification) as well as the expenses for teacher's aid, personal assistant and/or specialized educator costs (school costs) were considered. Loss of work and cost of time spent by families in patient care-giving were calculated as indirect costs.
Results: 75% (n=74) of children and adolescents with PDD were males, average age was 9+6 years. 75% had autistic disorder (n=74), 11% Asperger's syndrome (n=11) and 14% PDDNOS (n=14). Preliminary analysis indicated an average cost of 30.000 euro/patient/year. Psychiatric comorbidities were associated to a significantly increase of total (€ 36,214 vs 20,586 for no comorbidity; p=0.001) and private costs (€ 3,396 vs 223, respectively; p=0.015). Total costs were higher in Autistic Disorder (€ 30,00; p=0.07) and Asperger's Disorder (€ 33,400; p=0.058), compared to PDDNOS (€ 18,870). Parent direct costs were significantly higher in low IQ subject. Age range was also related to specific costs: at age 0-4 significantly lower total (€ 11,630; p=0.008) and school (p=0.006) costs were reported; school costs were significantly higher (12,000 €; p=0.042) in age range 5-9; at age range 10-14 significantly higher total (34,200 €; p=0.011) and indirect costs (12,740 €; p=0.039), were reported.
Conclusions: To improve the allocation of economic and social resource, further studies are warranted to identify variables that influence PDD costs.