Objective: To compare gastrointestinal (GI) healthcare resource use (HCRU) and associated costs in patients taking a fixed combination of diclofenac and misoprostol versus other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Methods: We analysed a sample (49,033 patients) of the Government of Quebec Health Insurance Agency database. Patients were included in the study if they did not have GI events during the year preceding the date of their first NSAID prescription dispensing (the index date). Patients were followed up for 2 years. A 3-stage model was used to determine the factors that influenced the direct medical costs of GI HCRU: (i) a logistic regression model (model 1) to estimate the risk of GI HCRU; (ii) a linear regression model (model 2) to estimate the direct costs of GI HCRU for those who had such events; (iii) multiplying the estimated risks from model 1 by the estimated costs from model 2 gave the estimated direct costs of GI HCRU for all patients.
Study perspective: Provincial government of Quebec, Canada.
Results: 1,533 patients were prescribed diclofenac/misoprostol at the index date and 10,540 another NSAID. Comorbidity markers were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Of the diclofenac/misoprostol patients, 23 (1.5%) were hospitalised for GI problems compared with 194 (1.8%) of the NSAID group; 403 (26.3%) of diclofenac/misoprostol patients used gastroprotective agents compared with 2,849 (27.0%) of the NSAID patients; 118 (7.7%) of diclofenac/misoprostol patients had GI diagnostic tests compared with 682 (6.5%) of the NSAID patients. The average direct medical cost of GI HCRU was 310.52 Canadian dollars ($Can)/patient (1997 values) in the diclofenac/misoprostol group compared with $Can231.19/patient (1997 values) in the NSAID group. When adjusted for baseline factors, the ratio of the total direct medical cost of GI HCRU in the diclofenac/misoprostol group to that of the NSAID group was 1.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.89, 1.48).
Conclusions: Our data showed no significant differences in GI HCRU among patients taking diclofenac/misoprostol compared with those taking NSAIDs.