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Title: high healthcare utilization in a severe asthma population despite use of high dose ics/laba
Title: High Healthcare Utilization in a Severe Asthma Population Despite Use of
High Dose ICS/LABA
M Castro1, N Reaven2, S Funk2 and N Jarjour3. 1Washington University, MO, United States; 2Strategic Health Resources, CA, United States 3University of Wisconsin, WI, United States.
Asthma patients with severe disease are often prescribed a combination of
high-dose ICS/LABA. We sought to better understand medical resource use in asthma
patients receiving the highest approved combination dosage of fluticasone/salmeterol
by examining healthcare service and pharmaceutical claim records.
Using ThomsonReuters MarketScan claims databases, which includes
inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical healthcare service claims, we identified study
subjects that were >17 years of age; had 4 years of continuous claims data excepting
mortality; that had filled 90 days supply of fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50 within a 6-
month Index Period beginning in 2004; and had an asthma diagnosis code. Exclusion
criteria included mortality during the Index Period and evidence of change to controller
medications used other than fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50. Healthcare utilization and
costs for respiratory and non-respiratory services were evaluated during a Post-Index
Period (average 2.7 years).
6321 patients (age 58 ±14 years) met study criteria with the following health
insurance coverage: commercial 64%, Medicare 36%. Sixty-one percent of this
population had an emergency department (ED) visit in the Post-Index Period, resulting
in 23.8 respiratory ED visits per 100 patient years (69.5 all-cause ED visits per 100
patient years). Thirty-eight percent of respiratory ED visits resulted in a hospital
admission. 1,248 patients (19.7%) had a respiratory hospital admission in the Post-
Index Period, resulting in 12.9 hospitalizations per 100 patient years (43.0% had an
admission for any reason). Seventy-one percent of respiratory hospitalizations
originated from an ED visit. Average total healthcare cost per admission was $12,196
Despite use of high dose ICS/LABA, this population with severe asthma
has significant healthcare utilization and cost.
According to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
(NAEPP) guidelines, asthma patients with severe disease – defined as Step 5 or 6 of
these guidelines -- are prescribed a combination of high-dose inhaled corticosteroid
(ICS) and long-acting beta-agonists (LABA) as the preferred line of therapy. The
purpose of this study was to analyze the medical service utilization patterns of patients
on the highest dose of fluticasone/salmeterol combination medication (i.e. Advair 500),
and to better understand the impact of medication compliance on medical resource use
in this patient population, by examining healthcare service and pharmaceutical claim
Patients meeting study criteria were selected from ThomsonReuters MarketScan claims databases covering private insurance and Medicare patients, and including inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical healthcare service claims.
o Index Date – the first fill date of prescriptions covering 90 days of dosages
for Advair 500 that qualified the patient for the study
o Pre-Index Period -- six months prior to the Index Date o Index Period -- six months beginning on the Index Date o Post-Index Period -- from the end of the Index Period until 6/30/2007 or
o Age >17 years of age; o Continuous insurance coverage from 6/30/2003 through 6/30/2007,
o Minimum of 90 days supply of fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50 filled within a
o Documented asthma diagnosis code (including all subcodes under ICD9
493.0, 493,1, 493.2, 493.8 and 493.9) in claims record.
o Death during Index Period; o Evidence of change to controller medications other than
o We calculated a Medication Possession Ratio (MPR) of
fluticasone/salmeterol defined as: (Number of In-Period Days Supply) ÷ (Number of Days in the Post-Index Period).
Age Gender COPD Sleep Apnea Post-Index Rescue Medication MPR Pre-Index Emergency Department (ED) and Inpatient Initiation (6
o We examined healthcare utilization and costs for respiratory and non-
respiratory services during a Post-Index Period averaging 2.7 years.
o We examined the relationship between varying percentiles of MPR, MPR
as a continuous variable, and respiratory-related medical services utilization.
o We performed univariate and multivariate analysis to explore the
predictive power of medication compliance.
o ED initiations = Number of patients presenting for Emergency Services
o ED visits = Number of visits for Emergency Services
o IP initiations = Number of patients admitted as hospital inpatients
o IP admissions = Number of inpatient admissions to the hospital
o OR = Odds Ratio
o Respiratory-related = primary diagnosis in the Respiratory Major
Diagnostic Category (MDC), or a respiratory sign/symptom (includes shortness of breath but not chest pain)
o 6321 patients o Average Age = 58 ±14 years o 36% Medicare Insurance, 64% Private Insurance o 60% Female o MPR of fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50:
Median: 0.53 75th Percentile: 0.81 90th Percentile: 0.95
Average Study Population Healthcare Utilization:
o 23.8 respiratory ED visits per 100 patient years o 37.8% of respiratory ED visits resulted in a hospital admission o 12.9 respiratory inpatient (IP) hospital admissions per 100 patient years
• 43% had at least one IP hospital admission o Average total healthcare cost per admission of $12,196 ±$29,701.
Average costs for Respiratory-Related Events (in 2009 $)
o Physician Office Visit: $98 o Emergency Department Visit: $389 o Hospital Admission: $7,271
Univariate Analysis: MPR Levels and Utilization per 100 Patient Years (Figure 1)
Figure 1. Respiratory-Related Medical Service Utilization for Patients
Compliant with Fluticasone/Salmeterol 500/50
Respiratory Medical Service Utilization by Compliance
Emergency Room Visits
50th percentile N=3161
75th percentile N=1580
90 Percentile N=590
Multivariate Regression Analyses of Fluticasone/Salmeterol 500/50 Compliance
on Respiratory-Related Utilization (Table 1)
Table 1. Effect of Compliance on Initiation and Utilization of Emergency Department
OR = 0.781
β = Beta: Predictive power of independent variable, i.e. how much does utilization change in response to compliance levels.
In this population of severe asthma patients, despite receiving care as prescribed in
Step 5 and 6 of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP)
guidelines (i.e. fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50), medical service utilization remained high.
While being on fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50 reduced medical service utilization, this
reduction was not significant until patient compliance reached 95% or greater. Since
less than 10% of patients demonstrated a greater than 95% compliance rate over the
follow-up period, it would be reasonable to conclude that even when patients with
severe asthma are treated according to current guidelines, they still demonstrate
significant health care utilization in emergency room visits and admissions to hospital.
This observation is in keeping with the findings reported by the NIH Severe Asthma
Research Program (SARP) report on characterization of severe asthma1.
This study confirms that full compliance is uncommon in patients with severe asthma,
and that treatment of these patients with the highest approved dosage of
fluticasone/salmeterol 500/50, is insufficient to significantly reduce health care utilization
in this population. References
1 Moore WC, Peters SP. Severe asthma: an overview. J Asthma and Clin Immunol;
2006; 177: 487-494 Poster #4217 , Session #A30
ATS 2009 (San Diego, CA, May 17, 2009)
Annual Meeting of the American Thoracic Society
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