Health care costs of adults treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who received alternative drug therapies.J Manag Care Pharm. 2007 Sep; 13(7):561-9.JM
Many therapies exist for treating adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also referred to as attention-deficit disorder (ADD), but there is no research regarding cost differences associated with initiating alternative ADD/ADHD drug therapies in adults.
To compare from the perspective of a large self-insured employer the risk-adjusted direct health care costs associated with 3 alternative drug therapies for ADD in newly treated patients: extended-release methylphenidate (osmotic release oral system-MPH), mixed amphetamine salts extended release (MAS-XR), or atomoxetine.
We analyzed data from a US claims database of 5 million beneficiaries from 31 large self-insured employers (1999-2004). Analysis was restricted to adults aged 18 to 64 years with at least 1 diagnosis of ADD/ADHD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] codes 314.0x--attention deficit disorder; 314.00--attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity; or 314.01--attention-deficit disorder with hyperactivity) and at least 1 pharmacy claim for OROS-MPH, MAS-XR, or atomoxetine identified using National Drug Codes. In preliminary analysis, we calculated the duration of index ADHD drug therapy as time from index therapy initiation to a minimum 60-day gap. Because the median duration of index ADHD drug therapy was found to be approximately 90 days, the primary measures were total direct medical plus drug costs and medical-only costs computed over 6 months following therapy initiation. Adults were required to have continuous eligibility 6 months before and 6 months after their latest drug therapy initiation and no ADHD therapy during the previous 6 months. Cost was measured as the payment amount made by the health plan to the provider rather than billed charges, and it excluded patient copayments and deductibles. Medical costs included costs incurred for all-cause inpatient and outpatient/other services. Costs were adjusted for inflation to 2004 U.S. dollars using the consumer price index for medical care. T tests were used for descriptive cost comparisons. Generalized linear models (GLMs) were used to compare costs of adults receiving alternative therapies, adjusting for demographic characteristics, substance abuse, depression, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index.
Of the 4,569 patients who received 1 of these 3 drug therapies for ADHD, 31.8% received OROS-MPH for a median duration of 99 days of therapy, 34.0% received MAS-XR for a median 128 days, and 34.2% received atomoxetine for a median 86 days. In the 6-month follow-up period, the mean (standard deviation) total medical and drug costs were $2,008 ($3,231) for OROS-MPH, $2,169 ($4,828) for MAS-XR, and $2,540 ($4,269) for atomoxetine-treated adults. The GLM for patient characteristics suggested that 6-month, risk-adjusted mean medical costs, excluding drug costs, for adults treated with OROS-MPH were $142 less (10.4%, $1,220 vs. $1,362) compared with MAS-XR (P =0.022) and $132 less (9.8%, $1,220 vs. $1,352) compared with atomoxetine (P =0.033); risk-adjusted mean medical costs were not significantly different between MAS-XR and atomoxetine. The GLM comparison of risk-adjusted total direct costs, including drug cost, was on average $156 less (8.0%, $1,782 vs. $1,938) for OROS-MPH compared with MAS-XR (P = 0.017) and $226 less (11.3%, $1,782 vs. $2,008) compared with atomoxetine (P <0.001); the risk-adjusted total direct costs were not significantly different between MAS-XR and atomoxetine. Two high-cost outliers (greater than 99.96th percentile, 1 each for OROS-MPH and atomoxetine) accounted for $47 (30%) of the $156 cost difference between OROS-MPH and MAS-XR and $11 (5%) of the $226 cost difference between OROS-MPH and atomoxetine, and the medical diagnoses for the highest-cost claims for these 2 outlier patients were unrelated to ADHD.
After adjusting for patient characteristics including substance abuse, depression, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index, adults treated with OROS-MPH had, on average, slightly lower medical and total medical and drug costs than those treated with MAS-XR or atomoxetine over the 6-month period after drug therapy initiation. Approximately 30% of the cost difference compared with MAS-XR was attributable to 1 high-cost outlier with medical diagnoses for the highest-cost claim that were unrelated to ADHD.