Cost-effectiveness and Quality of Specialized and Routine Care in a German Cohort of Patients with Chronic Pruritus


  • Svenja Müller Department of Dermatology and Allergy; University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • Sonja Ständer Department of Dermatology and Center for Chronic Pruritus, University Hospital Münster, Germany
  • Mandy Naatz German Center for Health Services Research in Dermatology (CVderm), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Germany
  • Matthias Augustin German Center for Health Services Research in Dermatology (CVderm), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Germany
  • Sabine Steinke Department of Dermatology and Center for Chronic Pruritus, University Hospital Münster, Germany; Bielefeld University, Medical School OWL, Germany



cost-benefit analysis, cost of illness, patient-reported outcome measures, pruritus, quality of healthcare


Chronic pruritus is a prevalent interdisciplinary symptom with a strong influence on health-related quality of life. Patients need extensive diagnostics and long-term treatment. This retrospective and prospective cohort study compared routine and university-based specialized care in terms of cost-effectiveness and patient benefit. Direct medical and non-medical costs and patient-reported outcomes (PRO; pruritus intensity, quality of life, treatment needs and benefits) were assessed. Data analyses were conducted using descriptive methods and non-parametric statistical tests. A total of 300 adult patients (54.3% female) participated in the study. Six months after the treatment start in a specialized German pruritus care unit, the total costs were significantly reduced (mean total costs 686 € vs 433 € per patient per half year (total cohort); p <  0.001; mean out-of-pocket costs 198 € vs 124 € per half year (total cohort), p <  0.001). Pruritus intensity (numerical rating  scale 5.3 vs 3.7, p < 0.001), quality of life (Dermatology Life Quality Index 8.9 vs 5.7, p < 0.001) and patient benefit (Patient Benefit Index Pruritus 1.2 vs 2.1, p < 0.001) improved significantly (total  cohort). The results of this study show, that treatment of chronic pruritus patients in a specialized itch centre leads to an improvement in patient  benefit and reduces the economic burden at the same time.


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How to Cite

Müller, S., Ständer, S., Naatz, M., Augustin, M., & Steinke, S. (2023). Cost-effectiveness and Quality of Specialized and Routine Care in a German Cohort of Patients with Chronic Pruritus. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 103, adv4868.

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