Data from Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy - Curated by EPG Health - Date available 01 December 2016


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1 December 2016

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BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common condition that can be treated with a number of different therapies. Treatments such as intranasal antihistamines (INAs) and intranasal steroids (INSs) are widely used by AR patients. For some allergy sufferers, a combination of therapies, specifically an INA and an INS, is required to address their symptoms. A new treatment, the formulation of azelastine hydrochloride and fluticasone pro-pionate used as a single spray (MP-AzeFlu), has become available for AR patients who need both types of treatment. In this regard, the comparison with the alternative concomitant use of INAs and INSs is of interest. The current study examines the health care resource utilization and costs for each cohort.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the resource utilization and costs associated with AR for patients treated with MP-AzeFlu or concurrent therapy with single-ingredient INA and INS sprays (free-combination therapy).

METHODS: A retrospective administrative claims study for commercially insured patients from a large U.S. health plan was performed. Patients with an AR diagnosis and a prescription claim for MP-AzeFlu or free-combination therapy between September 1, 2012, and September 30, 2013, were identified. Patients were aged at least 12 years at index date (first prescription fill for intranasal therapy) and were required to have 12 months pre-index and 6 months post-index of continuous enrollment. Health care resource utilization and costs were assessed for the post-index period. The cohorts were adjusted on baseline demographic and clinical characteristics using inverse propensity treatment weights. Other covariates, prescriber specialty, product switching during the post-index period, and pre-index total costs were included in the regression models measuring outcomes. One clinical characteristic of interest was the presence of asthma as comorbidity. A subset analysis of AR patients with asthma was also performed.

RESULTS: All-cause-related pharmacy fills as well as pharmacy, medical, and total costs were significantly reduced by using MP-AzeFlu (N = 810) instead of the free combination of drugs (N = 726). For AR-related health care resource utilization, the MP-AzeFlu cohort had significantly fewer pharmacy fills than the free-combination cohort (1.01 and 1.17, respectively; P < 0.001) with no significant difference in outpatient services and specialist visits (P = 0.139 and P = 0.117, respectively). Six-month AR-related pharmacy and total costs were significantly lower (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001) for the MP-AzeFlu cohort ($128 and $334, respectively) than the free-combination cohort ($268 and $458, respectively). There was no statistically significant difference in AR-related medical costs between the 2 cohorts (P = 0.454). For the subcohort of AR patients with asthma, the MP-AzeFlu cohort had lower 6-month asthma resource utilization and costs than the free-combination cohort.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that, for AR patients needing INAs and INSs, the single-spray formulation MP-AzeFlu had better economic outcomes than for patients who rely on the free combination of these agents. MP-AzeFlu also appears to keep asthma-related utilization and costs down for those AR patients who also suffer from asthma. Potential explanations for these findings are explored.

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