Background: The economic cost of dementia is high and can be predicted by cognitive and neuropsychiatric profiles. The differential costs of the various subtypes of dementia are unknown in Argentina, and this study therefore aimed to compare these costs.
Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of dementia of Alzheimer-type (DAT), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and vascular dementia (VaD), and their primary caregivers, were evaluated between 2002 and 2008.
Results: 104 patients with dementia (DAT = 44, FTD = 34, VaD = 26) were screened and matched by age and educational level with 29 healthy subjects. Demographic variables showed no significant differences among dementia patients. The annual direct costs were US$4625 for DAT, US$4924 for FTD, and US$5112 for VaD (p > 0.05 between groups). In the post hoc analysis VaD showed higher hospitalization costs than DAT (p < 0.001). VaD exhibited lower medication costs than FTD (p < 0.001). DAT exhibited higher anti-dementia drug costs; FTD had higher psychotropic costs. In the multivariate analysis, depression, activities of daily living, and caregiver burden were correlated with direct costs (r2 = 0.76).
Conclusions: The different dementia types have different costs. Overall, costs increased with the presence of behavioral symptoms, depression and functional impairment of activities of daily living.