Background: Neuropathic pain (NeP) manifests as chronic pain and causes significant medical and economic burden for both the individual and the society. Treatment of NeP is often symptomatic and includes single or combination drug therapy. Many drugs that are not recommended in the guidelines are also widely used.
Aim: The present study was aimed at determining the annual cost of NeP treatment in Turkey and to assess the amount of resource loss due to irrational drug use and its associated complications.
Methods: Each item in NeP prescriptions and their relevant costs between July 2007 and June 2009 was retrospectively analyzed.
Results: The number of prescriptions for NeP was 8646358 and 9650641 for the first and second years, respectively. The irrational items were 7513299 in the first year and 8360754 in the second year. The proportion of irrational treatment cost was 48.5% for the first year and 48.6% for the second year. Total cost of these prescriptions was estimated to be 47924534 Turkish Liras and 60715905 Turkish Liras for the first and second years, respectively. The estimated irrational treatment cost of NeP together with the additional burden exceeded half of the total cost.
Conclusions: Further studies on health economics perspective are needed to confirm these results. Better education of healthcare professionals and better regulations in reimbursement will help to improve this problem.
Key words: Neuropathic, pain, treatment, irrational, cost, burden