The Economic Burden of Nocturia on the U.S. Health Care System and Society: A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Analysis
Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, 2019
Nocturia, characterized as waking during the main sleep period to urinate, is a common condition. Persistent nocturia results in sleep fragmentation with deleterious effects on health and well-being. Yet, there are limited data on the economic burden of nocturia in the United States.
To assess the association of nocturia with health care resource utilization (HRU), work productivity, and self-rated health while estimating the societal costs of nocturia in the United States in 2017.
A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; 2005-2006 to 2013-2014). Adults aged ≥ 18 years (excluding pregnant women) were stratified into individuals with nocturia (≥ 2 voids/night) and individuals without nocturia (< 2 voids/night), based on the threshold for clinically significant nocturia. Outcomes were self-reported and included HRU (hospitalizations, outpatient visits); work productivity (weekly hours worked, employment); and current health status. Multivariable regression analyses adjusting for age, race, sex, body mass index, insurance status, education level, alcohol use, smoking status, and self-reported comorbid conditions were used to compare the 2 cohorts, overall and stratified by age group (20-44 years, 45-64 years, and 65+ years) to distinguish the effects on different age groups including the Medicare-aged population. Excess direct health care costs and indirect productivity costs associated with nocturia in the United States were then calculated using a prevalence-based approach and available literature (i.e., nocturia prevalence estimates, aggregated unit costs by HRU type, and average hourly earnings in the United States).
22,300 individuals were identified, and 24% had nocturia (≥ 2 voids/night). Median age was 55.2 and 43.2 years among individuals with and without nocturia, respectively, and the proportion of males was 43.3% and 51.3%, respectively. Individuals with nocturia had significantly more HRU, including hospitalizations and outpatient visits, worked significantly fewer hours weekly, and were significantly less likely to be employed when compared with those without nocturia. They were also significantly less likely to report being in very good/excellent health. These comparisons remained statistically significant across age groups. Total excess direct health care costs were $62.9 billion (hospitalization: $47.6 billion; outpatient: $15.3 billion). Total excess indirect productivity costs were $151.7 billion. Altogether, costs were estimated at $214.5 billion, equivalent to $3,491 per individual with nocturia. Individuals aged 20-44 years incurred 23.5% of total excess costs, while those aged 45-64 and 65+ years incurred 48.2% and 28.3%, respectively. Sensitivity analyses based on lower prevalence estimates resulted in costs of $94.0 billion, while those based on higher prevalence estimates reached up to $231.1 billion.
Nocturia is associated with a substantial economic burden in the United States even when evaluated based on lower prevalence estimates. This study underscores the importance of timely diagnosis and management of nocturia patients to alleviate health-related and economic consequences to patients and society.