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Drug utilization and therapy provision patterns by prescriber types among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus in Korea

Authors Shin S

Received 12 July 2017

Accepted for publication 23 September 2017

Published 17 October 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 1779—1787


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Sooyoung Shin

College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology (RIPST), Ajou University, Yeongtong-gu, Suwon, Republic of Korea

Background: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) poses a growing challenge for healthcare systems, affecting an increasing number of people in Korea. This study aimed to investigate the prescribing patterns of SLE therapies and to compare common drug regimens prescribed by provider types.
Methods: Sampled national health insurance claims data in 2015 were used to select eligible SLE patients. Frequency analyses were carried out regarding patient characteristics related to relevant SLE prescriptions. Patient-days were calculated per substance and per drug class and then categorized by provider types. Differences in drug utilization trends among the main types of providers were examined with the chi-square test.
Results: A total of 2,074 patients with SLE were selected for study inclusion. Systemic corticosteroid therapy was provided for up to 67.9% of patients, frequently in conjunction with other SLE therapies. About 33.2% and 18.7% of steroid users were treated for more than 150 days and 300 days during the study period, respectively. The provider group that most frequently prescribed systemic corticosteroids was dermatologists. Hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial considered pivotal to SLE management, was prescribed for only 32.4% of patients, predominantly by rheumatologists. Antimalarial therapy was associated with the longest therapy duration (257.7±120.1 days), followed by immunosuppressant therapy (187.0±153.0 days). Prescription rates of antimalarials and immunosuppressants were substantially lower in primary care doctor group and particularly in dermatologist group, compared to rheumatologist group (P-value associated with prescription patterns by provider types was <0.001 for both drug classes).
Conclusion: The drug utilization patterns among the main provider groups commonly providing care for SLE patients differed significantly depending on their practice areas. The prescription rates of corticosteroids were disproportionately higher among dermatologists. Rheumatologists appeared more cognizant of the importance of providing antimalarial therapy for SLE patients compared to other types of providers.

Keywords: systemic lupus erythematosus, drug utilization, antimalarials, corticosteroids

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