Physician and patient factors associated with the prescribing of medications for sleep difficulties that are associated with high abuse potential or are expensive: an analysis of data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for 1996-2001.Clin Ther. 2005 Dec; 27(12):1970-9.CT
This study evaluated the association between various socioeconomic and clinical factors relating to patients and physicians and the prescribing of medications that have a high abuse potential or are expensive for the treatment of sleep difficulties in a nationally representative sample of outpatient physician visits in the United States.
This cross-sectional study used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1996-2001. Patients aged > or =18 years who received treatment for sleep difficulties in US outpatient settings over this period were included in the study sample. Office visits were considered related to insomnia/sleep difficulties if relevant International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, diagnosis codes were recorded and if insomnia was reported as the reason for the visit or any medication with a primary indication for insomnia was prescribed. Medications associated with dependence and withdrawal symptoms were categorized as having a high abuse potential. Medications were considered expensive if the average wholesale price of 100 tablets was > or =$150 (ie, the 75th percentile of the total cost of all medications prescribed for sleep disorders only). The data were subjected to multivariate logistic regression analysis.
From 1996 through 2001, 2966 unweighted patient visits for insomnia/sleep difficulty were identified, representing approximately 94.6 million weighted observations in the overall US population; pharmacotherapy only was prescribed at 48% (45 million) of these visits. Medications with abuse potential were prescribed at 53% (24 million) of visits. Among visits at which pharmacotherapy was prescribed, visits by male patients were 39% less likely than visits by female patients to result in a prescription for a medication with abuse potential (odds ratio [OR] = 0.61; 95% CI, 0.45-0.81). Visits by patients with psychiatric comorbidities were 80% more likely to be associated with receipt of a prescription for a medication with abuse potential than were visits by patients with no such comorbidities (OR = 1.80; 95% CI, 1.31-2.47). Expensive medications were prescribed at 25% (15 million) of visits involving some pharmacotherapy. Patients aged > or =65 years were 44% less likely to receive a prescription for an expensive medication than was the reference group, patients aged 18 to 34 years (OR = 0.56; 95% CI, 0.35-0.90). Hispanic patients were 56% less likely to receive a prescription for an expensive medication than were non-Hispanic patients (OR = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.22-0.88).
This study found an increased probability of female patients with sleep difficulties receiving a medication with high abuse potential in outpatient settings in the United States from 1996 through 2001. In addition, there was a possible association between the age and ethnicity of patients with insomnia/sleep difficulties and the prescribing of expensive medications for sleep difficulties.