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BACKGROUND: Despite the considerable health impact of coeliac disease (CD), reliable estimates of the impact of diagnosis on health care use and costs are lacking. AIMS: To quantify the volume, type and costs, in a United Kingdom primary care setting, of healthcare resources used by individuals diagnosed with CD up to ten years before and after diagnosis, and to estimate medical costs associated with CD. METHODS: A cohort of 3,646 CD cases and a parallel cohort of 32,973 matched controls, extracted from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) over the period 1987-2005 were used i) to evaluate the impact of diagnosis on the average resource use and costs of cases; ii) to assess direct healthcare costs due to CD by comparing average resource use and costs incurred by cases vs. controls. RESULTS: Average annual healthcare costs per patient increased by £310 (95% CI £299, £320) after diagnosis. CD cases experienced higher healthcare costs than controls both before diagnosis (mean difference £91; 95% CI: £86, £97) and after diagnosis (mean difference £354; 95% CI: £347, £361). These differences were driven mainly by higher test and referral costs before diagnosis, and by increased prescription costs after diagnosis. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows significant additional primary care costs associated with coeliac disease. It provides novel evidence that will assist researchers evaluating interventions in this area, and will challenge policymakers, clinicians, researchers and the public to develop strategies that maximise the health benefits of the resources associated with this disease.

Original publication





PLoS One

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Celiac Disease, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Databases, Factual, Female, Great Britain, Health Care Costs, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Middle Aged, Primary Health Care, Referral and Consultation