Association between oral 5-ASA adherence and health care utilization and costs among patients with active ulcerative colitis
Background<br>Observational cohort study to assess the association between adherence to oral 5-aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) and all-cause costs and health care utilization among patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC) in the United States. <br>Methods<br>Retrospective analysis of insurance claims from June 1997 to August 2006 in the LifeLink Database. Patient criteria: aged 18 or older with one or more claim(s) between June 1997 and August 2005 for a UC diagnosis and at least one oral 5-ASA prescription on or after the first observed UC diagnosis; continuous enrollment for at least 6?months prior to and 12?months following 5-ASA initiation (index date). As a proxy for active disease, patients needed to have at least two UC-specific non-pharmacy claims, at least 30?days of 5-ASA treatment and at least one corticosteroid prescription within the 12-month post-index period. Cumulative exposure to oral 5-ASAs over the 12-month period was calculated using the medication possession ratio (MPR). Patients with an MPR of at least 0.80 were classified as adherent. All-cause medical and pharmacy resource utilization and costs were computed over the 12-month post-index period and compared between adherent and nonadherent patients. <br>Results<br>1,693 UC patients met study inclusion criteria: 72% were nonadherent to 5-ASA treatment (n?=?1,217) and 28% were adherent (n?=?476) in the 12-month study period. Compared with nonadherent patients, adherent patients had 31% fewer hospitalizations (P?=?0.0025) and 34% fewer emergency department admissions (P?=?0.0016). Adherent patients had 25% more pharmacy prescriptions overall (P <0.0001) and 71% more UC-related pharmacy prescriptions (P <0.0001) than did nonadherent patients. Total all-cause health care utilization was 1.13 times higher for adherent patients than for nonadherent patients (P?=?0.0002). After adjusting for covariates, total all-cause costs were 29% higher for nonadherent patients than for adherent patients (mean [95% confidence interval]: $13,465 [$13,094, $13,835] vs $17,339 [$17,033, $17,645]). <br>Conclusions<br>Approximately three-quarters of patients with active UC were not adherent with their prescribed doses of oral 5-ASA. Nonadherence was associated with higher total all-cause costs. The key driver of decreased costs among adherent patients was inpatient hospitalizations, which more than offset these patients’ expected higher pharmacy costs.