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Cost Efficiency Analysis for Spasticity Management Based on Physician Botulinum Toxin Prescribing Habits

Published:November 28, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2021.10.027

      Highlights

      • This cost analysis focused on physician prescribing practices rather than the drugs themselves.
      • Physicians using botulinum toxin predominantly for spasticity were included.
      • A majority of physicians exclusively used the costliest drug, onabotulinumtoxinA.
      • Those prescribing abobotulinumtoxinA or incobotulinumtoxinA had lower cost per patient.
      • Doses and injections per year were not significantly different between groups.

      Abstract

      Objective

      To estimate differences in botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) treatment costs per patient for spasticity-injecting physicians, with a focus on physicians’ use of alternative BoNT-A agents other than onabotulinumtoxinA.

      Design

      Retrospective cohort study.

      Setting

      National Medicare data for fee-for-service beneficiaries in 2017.

      Participants

      A total of 116 physicians, 6829 BoNT-A procedures, and 3051 patients were included in this analysis. Most physicians were physiatrists (84%) and used only onabotulinumtoxinA (82%).

      Interventions

      Type of BoNT-A selected by physicians was the independent variable of interest. Included physicians were separated into 2 groups: (1) onabotulinumtoxinA only injectors and (2) abobotulinumtoxinA and/or incobotulinumtoxinA injectors (may still use onabotulinumtoxinA).

      Main Outcome Measure

      Average cost per patient per year.

      Results

      The total average BoNT-A cost per patient per year was significantly less for physicians who used abobotulinumtoxinA and/or incobotulinumtoxinA vs those who used only onabotulinumtoxinA ($3684 vs $4739; P=.01). Patients’ average annual out-of-pocket costs also reflected a similar difference ($855 vs $1082; P=.02) between the groups. Doses used and numbers of injections per patient per year were not significantly different between groups.

      Conclusions

      The present analysis demonstrated lower cost per patient for both the payer and patient when physicians used types of BoNT-A other than onabotulinumtoxinA for spasticity. Nevertheless, most physicians in this spasticity-focused study used exclusively onabotulinumtoxinA, the most expensive BoNT-A available. Reasons for this are complex and include history on the market and approved indications beyond those associated with spasticity. However, future research should continue to identify such issues with a goal of finding solutions to improve cost inefficiencies.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      BoNT-A (Botulinum toxin type A), CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), CPT (current procedural terminology), OOP (out of pocket)
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