Methodological issues in assessing changes in costs pre- and post-medication switch: a schizophrenia study example

Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation : C/E
Douglas E FariesHaya Ascher-Svanum

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic, and costly illness that adversely impacts patients' lives and health care payer budgets. Cost comparisons of treatment regimens are, therefore, important to health care payers and researchers. Pre-Post analyses ("mirror-image"), where outcomes prior to a medication switch are compared to outcomes post-switch, are commonly used in such research. However, medication changes often occur during a costly crisis event. Patients may relapse, be hospitalized, have a medication change, and then spend a period of time with intense use of costly resources (post-medication switch). While many advantages and disadvantages of Pre-Post methodology have been discussed, issues regarding the attributability of costs incurred around the time of medication switching have not been fully investigated. Medical resource use data, including medications and acute-care services (hospitalizations, partial hospitalizations, emergency department) were collected for patients with schizophrenia who switched antipsychotics (n = 105) during a 1-year randomized, naturalistic, antipsychotic cost-effectiveness schizophrenia trial. Within-patient changes in total costs per day were computed during the pre- and post-medication cha...Continue Reading

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