Introduction: Few studies have been conducted to quantify the impact of asthma/COPD on patients’ work absence.
Objective: To compare work absence between patients with asthma and/or COPD versus the general population.
Methods: In this observational study, we analyzed information from 14,383 asthma/COPD patients of working age (19-65 years old) from the MAJORICA cohort, which contains data from the primary care, hospital and electronic prescription systems in the Balearic Islands, Spain. Work absence data for the year 2012 were obtained from this dataset, linked to clinical parameters and compared with work absence data from the general Balearic population. Multivariate regression analyses studied the independent association of work absence with demographic and clinical characteristics.
Results: Patients with asthma and/or COPD had significantly (p<0.0001) more days of work absence (mean: 57.5 days in 15.3% of people with any absence) compared to the general population (37.7 days; in 11.5%) per year. COPD patients (92.9 days; in 12.8%;) had significantly (p<0.0001) more days of work absence than asthma patients (47.4 days; in 16.0%). Notably, asthma-COPD overlap patients were in between asthma and COPD patients with 72.4 days (in 14.5%) work absence. Furthermore, we showed an association of work absence in these respiratory patients with increasing age (OR 1.436; CI 1.166-1.490 per 15 years, p<0.0001), anxiety (OR 1.367; CI 1.243-1.504, p<0.0001) and allergic rhinitis (OR 1.133; CI 1.021-1.257, p=0.018).
Conclusion: Patients with asthma and/or COPD have a significantly higher work absence compared to the general population, more frequently in asthma and of longer duration in COPD patients.