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The Cost of Living with Inherited Ataxia in Ireland

Inherited ataxias are a heterogenous group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by progressive impairment of balance and coordination, typically leading to permanent and progressive disability. Diagnosis and management of these disorders incurs a range of direct and indirect financial costs. The aim of this study was to collect individual ataxia-related healthcare resources in a large cohort of individuals with different subtypes of inherited ataxia and calculate the associated cost of illness in the Republic of Ireland. One hundred twenty-nine respondents completed a cross-sectional study on healthcare resource utilization for progressive ataxia in Ireland. Costs were calculated using a prevalence-based approach and bottom-up methodology. The COI for inherited ataxia in 2016 was €59,993 per person per year. Results were similar between participants with Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA, n = 56), non-FRDA (n = 18) and those with undetermined ataxia (n = 55). Indirect costs, based on productivity losses by participants or caregivers, accounted for 52% of the cost of illness. Inherited ataxia is associated with significant health and social care costs. Further funding for inherited ataxia to ease the financial burden on patients, caregivers and healthcare system and improve standards of care compliance is warranted.

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