Support Program Reduces Opioid Use in Pts with Autoimmune Disease

A patient support program may be instrumental in helping patients with pain from autoimmune diseases reduce or eliminate their opioid use, a study suggests.

“Previous studies showed that patients who enrolled in the HUMIRA Complete Patient Support Program had improved refill adherence and persistence with adalimumab and reduced medical costs relative to patients who used adalimumab but did not join the patient support program. However, opioid use has not been previously investigated,” the study authors explained.

They assessed patients with a variety of autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, plaque psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and uveitis. Insurance claims data linked to adalimumab patient support program data were collected. Patients who took part in the patient support program (n=1952) were compared to those who did not (n=728).

Patents who took part in the program had higher adalimumab adherence, the study authors reported, which included higher proportion of days covered and persistence. They were also 13% less likely to start taking opioids and 26% less likely to have at least two fills. They additionally had fewer days of opioid supply.

The study was published in Rheumatology and Therapy.

“This research demonstrates that the addition of a multi-faceted patient support program along with specialty medication led to better patient-centered outcomes when compared to the use of medication alone,” said first study author Mark Fendrick, MD, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the Center for Value Based Insurance Design, in a press release. “As more and more Americans are prescribed complicated medication regimens, the availability of additional resources is likely to lead to higher rates of medication adherence, and healthier, more satisfied patients.”

In their paper Dr. Fendrick and his fellow authors concluded, “While further research is needed to understand the specific mechanisms behind these results, they point to the potential benefits of improved medication-taking behavior and better disease control that may be brought on by patient support group participation.”

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