Opioid Overdose Associated With Even Higher Health Care Costs Than Dependence or Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS Associate Director, Medical Affairs Strategic Research Purdue Pharma L.P.

Dr. Jared Howard

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS
Associate Director
Medical Affairs Strategic Research
Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The existing scientific literature estimating the healthcare burden of opioid misuse disorders often combines all patients within the broad category of “opioid abuse,” defined as opioid abuse, dependence, or overdose/poisoning.
Collectively, these three conditions can significantly increase healthcare costs among commercially insured patients.

• Real world medical coding practices present challenges to researchers aiming to separately analyze excess costs by diagnosis, though combining these diagnoses may mask some variation in excess costs.

• Furthermore, little is known about the specific drivers of excess costs in terms of medical conditions driving excess costs or places of service at the diagnosis-level.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?


• Diagnosed opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose/poisoning are all associated with substantial excess costs. However, important differences emerge across diagnosis categories in terms of places of service and cost drivers.
• While excess costs of opioid abuse and dependence are quite similar, overdose/poisoning is associated with substantially higher excess costs, particularly related to care received in inpatient and emergency department settings.
• Both opioid misuse and non-opioid drug/alcohol misuse were substantial contributors to excess costs, while other cost drivers for each diagnosis type were generally varied and diffuse.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings demonstrate a similarity of excess costs across opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses despite somewhat different place-of-service distributions. This may be due to different treatment patterns for the two diagnoses, but could also suggest a possible role for place-of-service-specific coding practices.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research exploring opioid abuse diagnosis patterns and may help researchers characterize real world healthcare practitioner treatment and ultimately provide more refined estimates of the costs associated with abuse.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: I would like to acknowledge my coauthors for their contribution to this important body of work.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Pain Week 2016
Howard J, et al The costs and cost drivers of opioid misuse by diagnosis: abuse, dependence, and overdose/poisoning

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on September 26, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD