Resource use and cost implications of switching among warfarin formulations in atrial fibrillation patients.

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Resource use and cost implications of switching among warfarin formulations in atrial fibrillation patients.

Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Dec;46(12):1609-16

Authors: Kwong WJ, Kamat S, Fang C

BACKGROUND: Despite the uncertainty surrounding the safety of switching warfarin formulations, limited data exist on the resource use and costs associated with this switching pattern.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate health care resource use and costs associated with switching warfarin formulations among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) in a managed care organization.
METHODS: Patients diagnosed with AF (ICD-9 427.31) between July 2004 and August 2008 and who received warfarin therapy were identified in the HealthCore Integrated Research Database and categorized into 3 groups: users of generic warfarin formulations from a single drug manufacturer (generic-only group), users of branded warfarin formulations only (brand-only group), and patients who used generic and branded warfarin therapy interchangeably or who may have used generic drugs from 1 or more manufacturers (generic/brand switching group). Patients were followed 12 months or longer after their index warfarin prescription date to compare all-cause resource use and costs using multivariable regression analysis.
RESULTS: The analysis included 12,908 patients: 71.82% were in the genericonly group, 9.61% were in the brand-only group, and 18.57% were in the generic/brand switching group. Patients in the generic/brand switching group were more likely to be hospitalized (relative risk [RR] = 1.43, p < 0.0001) or to use emergency department services (RR = 1.20, p < 0.01), compared to the brand-only users. Hospitalizations were more likely (RR = 1.26, p < 0.001) to occur among generic-only users versus brand-only users. Adjusted mean pharmacy costs per member per month were lower in the generic/brand switching group compared to the brand-only group ($257 vs $273, p = 0.038), but inpatient costs were higher ($1250 vs $972, p < 0.001), resulting in higher ($2125 vs $1847, p < 0.001) total costs. Generic-only users had lower pharmacy costs compared to brand-only users ($246 vs $273, p < 0.001), but total health care costs trended to be higher in the generic-only group ($1957 vs $1847, p = 0.053).
CONCLUSIONS: The use of both generic and branded formulations of warfarin interchangeably, or the use of generics from more than 1 manufacturer, was associated with increased use of all-cause health care resources and total costs in patients with AF.

PMID: 23150608 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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