International Psychogeriatrics

Economic impact of dementia in developing countries: an evaluation of costs of Alzheimer-type dementia in Argentina

Ricardo F. Allegri a1a2c1, Judith Butman a2, Raúl L. Arizaga a2, Gerardo Machnicki a3, Cecilia Serrano a1a2, Fernando E. Taragano a1a4, Diego Sarasola a1 and Leandro Lon a1a2a4
a1 Department of Neuropsychiatry, CEMIC University, Buenos Aires, Argentina
a2 Memory Research Center, Department of Neurology, Zubizarreta General Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina
a3 Novartis Argentina
a4 “Nuestra Sra de las Nieves” Nursing Home, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Article author query
allegri rf   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
butman j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
arizaga rl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
machnicki g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
serrano c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
taragano fe   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sarasola d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lon l   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Background: There is no previous information about economic costs of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in South America. The objective of this study was to evaluate the costs of AD in Argentina.

Methods: Eighty community-dwelling patients, 20 institutionalized AD patients and their respective primary caregivers, and 25 healthy elderly subjects participated in this study. The cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairments and severity of dementia were assessed with the Mini-mental State Examination, Neuropsychiatric Inventory and Clinical Dementia Rating, respectively. A structured interview about health and health-care resources used during the past 3 months was administered to family caregivers. The time devoted by carers to looking after the patients and the caregiver burden (Zarit's Burden Interview) were recorded.

Results: The annual direct costs of the disease increased with cognitive deterioration from US$3420.40 in mild to US$9657.60 in severe AD, and with institutionalization (US$3189.20 outpatient vs. US$14 447.68 institutionalized). Most direct costs were paid for by the family.

Conclusions: With the projected increase in the number of persons at risk for developing AD in emerging countries, the family cost of the disease will be significant. Dementia costs should be a matter of analysis when health policies are being designed in developing countries.

(Received November 22 2005)
(returned for revision January 10 2006)
(revised version received April 17 2006)
(Accepted April 19 2006)
(Published Online July 27 2006)

Key Words: dementia; Alzheimer's disease; economic costs; caregiver.

c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Ricardo F. Allegri, Department of Neuropsychiatry, CEMIC University, Galvan 4102, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fax: +54 11 4546 8227. Email: