Kidney Disease

Lupus Nephritis Health Care Cost, Utilization Is High in the United States

An analysis of US claims data has identified the health care costs for patients with a new diagnosis of lupus nephritis. Mean health care costs were $44,205 during the first year after diagnosis, when half the cohort had a hospital stay.

To determine health care utilization by adults with lupus nephritis, researchers in the GlaxoSmithKline US Value, Evidence, and Outcomes group conducted a longitudinal, retrospective cohort study by using data from the Optum Research Database of US administrative health care claims. 

Study inclusion criteria were age of at least 18 years, at least 2 renal diagnosis codes during the study identification period, at least 1 inpatient or at least 2 outpatient systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) diagnosis codes in the 12 months before the index date, and continuous enrollment for at least 12 months before and after the index date. The index date was defined as the first claim made with a renal diagnosis code indicating lupus nephritis from August 2011 to August 2018, which was the identification period for the study. 

Study inclusion criteria were met by 2159 patients, and the mean age of the study group was 58.5 years. Most patients were women (87%), and 335 had at least 5 years of continuous enrollment after the index date. The researchers reported health care resource utilization and costs for the cohort with 5 years of continuous enrollment after the index date.

Mean health care costs for cohort patients were $44,205 during the first year after diagnosis (Year 1) and approximately $30,000 in Years 2 to 5. Roughly half the cohort had a hospital stay in Year 1, and roughly a quarter of the cohort had one in each of the following 4 years.

According to the researchers, “These data highlight the need for interventions to prevent renal worsening in SLE.”

—Ellen Kurek


Bell C, Chastek B, Rubin B, Huang S. Healthcare resource utilization and costs over 5 years for a systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cohort newly diagnosed with lupus nephritis: evidence from a US administrative claims database. Paper presented at: American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week 2021; November 4-7, 2021; Virtual.