ICS/LABA combination therapy increases asthma-related pharmacy cost

Researchers find inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta agonist (ICS/LABA) combination products are commonly used by patients with mild asthma, despite the lack of evidence or guidelines for such use.

A new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in Phoenix, Nov. 11-16, found treatment with ICS/LABA combination therapy was associated with significantly higher asthma-related drug costs when compared to ICS therapy alone. Asthma-related medical costs, number of oral steroid claims per patient, and professional time billed to lung-related emergency department visits or hospitalizations are similar between treatment groups. "Findings confirm that ICS/LABA combination use is prevalent in mild asthma patients and is associated with increased asthma-related pharmacy and total healthcare costs with no observed benefit for patients," reported the study's authors.

Title: Overuse of Inhaled Corticosteroid and Long-Acting Beta Agonist Combination Therapy in Patients with Mild Asthma
Lead Author: Tom Manley, RPh
Co-Author: Allergist Luis Salmun, MD, ACAAI Member

By the numbers:
Almost $20 billion is spent annually to treat asthma. Direct costs are $14.7 billion of that total and indirect cost such as lost productivity are $5 billion. Prescription drugs represent the largest single direct medical expenditure related to asthma, over $6 billion. As asthma specialists, allergists have consistently shown they can provide effective, economical asthma treatment. (Reported in the ACAAI Asthma Management and the Allergist: Better Outcomes at Lower Cost)




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