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Health care resource use and cost differences by opioid therapy type among chronic noncancer pain patients

Authors Landsman-Blumberg PB, Katz N, Gajria K, D’Souza AO, Chaudhari SL, Yeung PP, White R

Received 24 December 2016

Accepted for publication 31 May 2017

Published 21 July 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1713—1722


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Pamela B Landsman-Blumberg,1 Nathaniel Katz,2,3 Kavita Gajria,4 Anna O D’Souza,1 Sham L Chaudhari,1 Paul P Yeung,5 Richard White6

1Real-World Evidence, Xcenda LLC, Palm Harbor, FL, 2Analgesic Solutions, Natick, MA, 3Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 4Global Health Economics Outcomes Research, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Frazer, PA, 5Migraine and Headache Clinical Development, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Frazer, PA, 6Neuroscience, Angarrack Value Solutions, West Chester, PA, USA

Abstract: The study assessed 12-month chronic pain (CP)-related health care utilization and costs among chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) patients who initiated various long-term opioid treatments. Treatments included monotherapy with long-acting opioids (mono-LAOs), monotherapy with short-acting opioids (mono-SAOs), both LAOs and SAOs (combination), and opioid therapy initiated with SAO or LAO and switched to the other class (switch). Using MarketScan® claims databases (2006–2012), we identified CNCP patients with ≥90 days opioid supply after pain diagnosis and continuous enrollment 12 months before pain diagnosis (baseline period) and 12 months after opioid start (post-index period). Outcomes included CP-related health care utilization and costs. Among CNCP patients (n=21,203), the cohort distribution was 74% mono-SAOs, 22% combination, 2% mono-LAOs, and 2% switch. During follow-up, the average daily morphine equivalent dose was highest in mono-LAO patients (96.4 mg) compared with combination patients (89.8 mg), switch patients (64.3 mg), and mono-SAO patients (36.2 mg). After adjusting for baseline differences, the mono-LAO cohort had lower total CP-related costs ($4,933) compared with the mono-SAO ($8,604), switch ($10,470), and combination ($15,190) cohorts (all: P<0.05). Mono-LAO patients had greater CP-related prescription costs but lower medical costs than the other cohorts during the follow-up period, including lower CP-related hospitalizations (1% vs 11%–20%), emergency department visits (4% vs 11%–18%), and diagnostic radiology use (21% vs 54%–61%) (all: P<0.001). Use of pain-related medications and other treatment modalities was also significantly lower in the mono-LAO cohort relative to the other cohorts. CNCP patients using long-term monotherapy with LAOs had the lowest CP-related total health care costs in the 12 months after opioid initiation compared with mono-SAO, switch, or combination patients despite higher opioid daily doses and higher prescription costs. Future research accounting for severity and duration of pain would aid in determining the optimal long-term opioid regimen for CNCP patients.

Keywords: chronic pain, long-acting opioids, short-acting opioids, health care claims, database study

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