Healthcare utilization and costs among prolactinoma patients: a cross-sectional study and analysis of determinants

Merel van der Meulen*, Amir H. Zamanipoor Najafabadi, Daniel J. Lobatto, Wilbert B. van den Hout, Cornelie D. Andela, Ingrid M. Zandbergen, Alberto M. Pereira, Wouter R. van Furth, Thea P. M. Vliet Vlieland, Nienke R. Biermasz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Prolactinomas are the most prevalent functioning pituitary adenomas. They affect gonadal function as well as health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study aimed to report healthcare utilization and costs, including their determinants, for prolactinoma patients. Methods: Cross-sectional study of 116 adult prolactinoma patients in chronic care in a Dutch tertiary referral center. Patients completed four validated questionnaires, assessing healthcare utilization and costs over the previous 12 months (Medical Consumption Questionnaire), disease bother and needs (Leiden Bother and Needs Questionnaire Pituitary), HRQoL (Short Form-36), and self-reported health status (EuroQol 5D). Regression analyses were used to assess associations between disease-related characteristics and healthcare utilization and costs. Results: Mean age was 52.0 years (SD 13.7) and median follow-up was 15.0 years (IQR 7.6–26.1). Patients visited the endocrinologist (86.2%), general practitioner (37.9%), and ophthalmologist (25.0%) most frequently. Psychological care was used by 12.9% of patients and 5% were admitted to hospital. Mean annual healthcare costs were €1928 (SD 3319), mainly for pituitary-specific medication (37.6% of total costs), hospitalization (19.4%) and specialist care (16.1%). Determinants for higher healthcare utilization and costs were greater disease bother and needs for support, lower HRQoL, elevated prolactin, and longer disease duration, while tumor size, hypopituitarism and adrenal insufficiency were not significantly associated with healthcare utilization and costs. Conclusion: Healthcare utilization and costs of prolactinoma patients are related to patient-reported HRQoL, bother by disease and needs for support. Therefore, addressing patients’ HRQoL and needs is a way forward to improve efficiency of care and patients’ health status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

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