Cost Implications for the Use of Inhaled Anti-Inflammatory Medications in the Treatment of Asthma
Ronald J. Ozminkowski
William D. Marder
Objective: To compare the expected costs of treating patients with asthma with versus without inhaled anti-inflammatory medications, adjusting for other factors that also influence medical care expenditures. Design: Nonlinear exponential regression analyses were used to estimate relationships between medical care expenditures and treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, sodium cromoglycate (cromolyn) or nedocromil. The regressions adjusted for differences in patients' demographics, location, plan type and severity of illness. Setting: Large, self-insured, corporate-sponsored medical plans represented in MarketScan database. Patients and Participants: 7466 continuously enrolled patients with asthma. Interventions: Treatment with inhaled corticosteroids, sodium cromoglycate or nedocromil. Main Outcome Measures: 1. Total inpatient, outpatient and pharmaceutical expenditures; and 2. asthma-related expenditures in the 1996 calendar year. Results: If all patients had been treated with inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs, total expenditures would be expected to be about $US944.82 per patient lower, on average, than would be the case if no patients received these drugs. Asthma-related expenditures would be about $US498.74 per patient higher, on average, if all patients were treated with these drugs. Conclusions: Using inhaled anti-inflammatory agents would be associated with higher asthma-related expenditures but lower total expenditures. Treatment with inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs may represent an investment in better care that pays off with better health and lower total medical care expenditures.
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