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Costs and outcomes associated with clopidogrel discontinuation in Medicare beneficiaries with acute coronary syndrome in the coverage gap

Authors Page II R, Ghushyan V, Allen RR, Roper L, Beck D, Jonathan BH, Tamas F, Chan W, McQueen RB , Nair KV

Received 31 March 2012

Accepted for publication 12 May 2012

Published 10 July 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 67—74


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Robert Lee Page II,1,2 Vahram Ghushchyan,1 Richard R Allen,3 Lisa Roper,4 Don Beck,4 Bamrom H Jonathan,4 Feride Frech-Tamas,5 Wing Chan,5 R Brett McQueen,1 Kavita V Nair1
1School of Pharmacy, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, 2School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, 3Peakstat Statistical Services, Evergreen, CO, 4Universal American, Houston, TX, 5Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, New Jersey, USA

Background: Current guidelines for acute coronary syndrome recommend clopidogrel for an optimal period of 12 months in order to reduce the risk of reinfarction and mortality. Premature clopidogrel discontinuation has been associated with higher rates of rehospitalization, coronary stent thrombosis, and mortality. No data exist regarding the effect of the Medicare Part D coverage gap on medical costs and outcomes in Medicare beneficiaries who discontinue their clopidogrel upon entering the coverage gap.
Methods: Beneficiaries with a Medicare Advantage plan in 2009 who had a diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome were taking clopidogrel 75 mg daily, and reached the gap in the same year representing the study sample. From this cohort, those who filled at least two prescriptions for clopidogrel (continued) versus those that did not (discontinued) while in the gap were compared with regard to outcomes related to acute coronary syndrome and expenditure 30 days after the last prescription was filled and during any time while in the gap. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were used to compare these differences.
Results: A total of 1365 beneficiaries with acute coronary syndrome met the inclusion criteria, of which 705 beneficiaries entered into the coverage gap, wherein 103 (14.6%) and 602 (85.4%) of beneficiaries discontinued and continued clopidogrel, respectively. Compared with those who continued clopidogrel during the gap, beneficiaries who discontinued clopidogrel showed a higher trend in the number of hospitalizations related to acute coronary syndrome and emergency room visits, albeit not statistically significant. Those who discontinued clopidogrel showed a higher mean adjusted cost per member per month in hospitalizations ($3604) related to acute coronary syndrome and outpatient visits ($1144) related to acute coronary syndrome and total medical costs ($5614), albeit not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Medicare beneficiaries who face large out-of-pocket costs for clopidogrel while in the coverage gap and discontinue therapy may experience adverse events related to acute coronary syndrome.

Keywords: Medicare, acute coronary syndrome, clopidogrel, health resource utilization

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