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Saturday 01 September 2001

Comparison of prevalence, cost, and outcomes of a combination of salmeterol and fluticasone therapy to common asthma treatments.

By: Wang SW, Liu X, Wiener DJ, Sennett C, Bowers BW, Legorreta AP.

Am J Manag Care 2001 Sep;7(9):913-22

OBJECTIVES: To compare a combination of salmeterol and fluticasone with common asthma pharmacologic regimens used in real-world clinical practice, and to evaluate the associated costs and outcomes of care. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional examination of medical and pharmacy claims. METHODS: The study population included 33,939 adult asthmatics (at least 12 years of age) continuously enrolled in 1 of 4 participating health plans for the 6-month study period. Every subject was in 1 of 10 different pharmacotherapy treatment groups. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to compare the rates and costs of pharmaceutical prescriptions and medical care services between patients on salmeterol plus fluticasone and patients with other pharmacologic therapies. RESULTS: About 60.4% of the patients were on single controllers; the balance was on short-acting beta 2-agonists alone (23%) or double controllers (16.8%). The average overall cost of asthma care was approximately $228 per patient over the 6 months of the study. Pharmaceutical cost was the major cost driver, which was significantly lower for single-controller (mean = $134) than for double-controller therapies (mean = $325). However, total costs were $50-$200 lower (P < .029) for patients on salmeterol plus fluticasone and inhaled steroids plus mast cell stabilizing agents than for those on other double controllers. CONCLUSIONS: Single-controller regimens and short-acting beta-agonists were less costly than double-controller regimens. Within the double-controller groups, salmeterol plus fluticasone appeared to be less costly than other double controllers, except inhaled steroids plus mast cell stabilizing agents.

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