Costs in the treatment of schizophrenia in adults receiving atypical antipsychotics: an eleven-year cohort in Brazil

Wallace Breno Barbosa, Juliana de Oliveira Costa, Livia Lovato Pires de Lemos, Rosângela Maria Gomes, Helian Nunes de Oliveira, Cristina Mariano Ruas, Francisco de Assis Acurcio, Corrado Barbui, Marion Bennie, Brian Godman, Augusto Afonso Guerra Júnior

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Background: Schizophrenia is associated with significant economic burden. In Brazil, antipsychotics drugs, outpatient and hospital services are provided by the Brazilian National Health System for patients with schizophrenia. However, there are few studies that capture the cost of managing these patients within the Brazilian NHS. This is important to appraise different management approaches within universal healthcare systems. Objective: Describe the costs associated with the treatment of schizophrenia in adults receiving atypical antipsychotics in Brazil from 2000 to 2010 through real world data. Methods: We integrated three national databases for adult patients with schizophrenia receiving one or more atypical antipsychotics. Only direct medical costs were assessed as the perspective is a public payer. A multivariate log-linear regression model was performed to evaluate associations between costs and clinical and demographic variables. Results: 174,310 patients with schizophrenia were identified with mean (± SD) annual costs of USD 1,811.92 ± 284.39 per patient. Atypical antipsychotics accounted for 79.7% of the total cost, with a mean (± SD) annual cost per patient of USD 1,578.74 ± 240.40. Mean (± SD) annual costs per patient of psychiatric hospitalization were USD 2,482.90 ± 302.92 and outpatient psychiatric care was USD 862.96 ± 160.18. Olanzapine was used by 47.7% of patients and represented 62.8% of the total cost of atypical antipsychotics. Patients who used clozapine had the highest mean annual cost per patient regarding outpatient psychiatric care and psychiatric hospitalization. Conclusions: Atypical antipsychotics were responsible for the majority of the schizophrenia treatment cost, and psychiatric hospitalization costs were the highest mean annual cost per patient. As a result, authorities should ensure good quality of use of atypical antipsychotic and encourage outpatient psychiatric care over psychiatric hospitalization where possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-709
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Health Economics and Health Policy
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018


  • schizophrenia
  • antipsychotics drugs
  • atypical antipsychotics
  • pharmacoeconomics


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