Healthcare resource use and costs of opioid-induced constipation among non-cancer and cancer patients on opioid therapy

A nationwide register-based cohort study in Denmark

Jens Søndergaard, Helene Nordahl Christensen, Rikke Ibsen, Dorte Ejg Jarbøl, Jakob Kjellberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background and aim Opioid analgesics are often effective for pain management, but may cause constipation. The aim of this study was to determine healthcare resource use and costs in non-cancer and cancer patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC). Methods This was a nationwide register-based cohort study including patients ≥18 years of age initiating ≥4 weeks opioid therapy (1998–2012) in Denmark. A measure of OIC was constructed based on data from Danish national health registries, and defined as ≥1 diagnosis of constipation, diverticulitis, mega colon, ileus/subileus, abdominal pain/acute abdomen or haemorrhoids and/or ≥2 subsequent prescription issues of laxatives. Total healthcare resource utilization and costs (including pharmacy dispense, inpatient-, outpatient-, emergency room- and primary care) were estimated according to OIC status, opioid treatment dosage and length, gender, age, marital status, and comorbidities using Generalised Linear Model. Results We identified 97 169 eligible opioid users (77 568 non-cancer and 19 601 patients with a cancer diagnosis). Among non-cancer patients, 15% were classified with OIC, 10% had previous constipation, and 75% were without OIC. Patients characteristics of non-cancer OIC patients showed a higher frequency of strong opioid treatment (69% versus 41%), long-term opioid treatment (1189 days versus 584 days), advanced age (73 years versus 61 years), and cardiovascular disease (31% versus 19%) compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Non-cancer patients with OIC had 34% higher total healthcare costs compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Among cancer patients, 35% were classified with OIC, 14% had previous constipation, and 51% were without OIC. A higher proportion of cancer patients with OIC were continuous opioid users (85% versus 83%) and strong opioid users (97% versus 85%), compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Further, the mean number of days on opioids were higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (329 days versus 238 days, P < 0.001). Total healthcare costs were 25% higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Conclusions The results of this nationwide study based on real life data suggested that both non-cancer patients and cancer patients suffering from opioid-induced constipation (OIC) may have higher healthcare resource utilization and higher associated costs compared to those without OIC. Implications Reducing the number of OIC patients has potential cost savings for the health care system. Special attention should be on patients at potential high risk of OIC, such as strong and long-term opioid treatment, advanced age, and concomitant cardiovascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Volume15
Pages (from-to)83-90
ISSN1877-8860
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this

@article{a1476fdc57a142debe4e126b5021ca35,
title = "Healthcare resource use and costs of opioid-induced constipation among non-cancer and cancer patients on opioid therapy: A nationwide register-based cohort study in Denmark",
abstract = "Background and aim Opioid analgesics are often effective for pain management, but may cause constipation. The aim of this study was to determine healthcare resource use and costs in non-cancer and cancer patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC). Methods This was a nationwide register-based cohort study including patients ≥18 years of age initiating ≥4 weeks opioid therapy (1998–2012) in Denmark. A measure of OIC was constructed based on data from Danish national health registries, and defined as ≥1 diagnosis of constipation, diverticulitis, mega colon, ileus/subileus, abdominal pain/acute abdomen or haemorrhoids and/or ≥2 subsequent prescription issues of laxatives. Total healthcare resource utilization and costs (including pharmacy dispense, inpatient-, outpatient-, emergency room- and primary care) were estimated according to OIC status, opioid treatment dosage and length, gender, age, marital status, and comorbidities using Generalised Linear Model. Results We identified 97 169 eligible opioid users (77 568 non-cancer and 19 601 patients with a cancer diagnosis). Among non-cancer patients, 15{\%} were classified with OIC, 10{\%} had previous constipation, and 75{\%} were without OIC. Patients characteristics of non-cancer OIC patients showed a higher frequency of strong opioid treatment (69{\%} versus 41{\%}), long-term opioid treatment (1189 days versus 584 days), advanced age (73 years versus 61 years), and cardiovascular disease (31{\%} versus 19{\%}) compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Non-cancer patients with OIC had 34{\%} higher total healthcare costs compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Among cancer patients, 35{\%} were classified with OIC, 14{\%} had previous constipation, and 51{\%} were without OIC. A higher proportion of cancer patients with OIC were continuous opioid users (85{\%} versus 83{\%}) and strong opioid users (97{\%} versus 85{\%}), compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Further, the mean number of days on opioids were higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (329 days versus 238 days, P < 0.001). Total healthcare costs were 25{\%} higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Conclusions The results of this nationwide study based on real life data suggested that both non-cancer patients and cancer patients suffering from opioid-induced constipation (OIC) may have higher healthcare resource utilization and higher associated costs compared to those without OIC. Implications Reducing the number of OIC patients has potential cost savings for the health care system. Special attention should be on patients at potential high risk of OIC, such as strong and long-term opioid treatment, advanced age, and concomitant cardiovascular disease.",
author = "Jens S{\o}ndergaard and Christensen, {Helene Nordahl} and Rikke Ibsen and Jarb{\o}l, {Dorte Ejg} and Jakob Kjellberg",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.01.006",
language = "English",
volume = "15",
pages = "83--90",
journal = "Scandinavian Journal of Pain",
issn = "1877-8860",
publisher = "De Gruyter",

}

Healthcare resource use and costs of opioid-induced constipation among non-cancer and cancer patients on opioid therapy : A nationwide register-based cohort study in Denmark. / Søndergaard, Jens; Christensen, Helene Nordahl; Ibsen, Rikke; Jarbøl, Dorte Ejg; Kjellberg, Jakob.

In: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Vol. 15, 2017, p. 83-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Healthcare resource use and costs of opioid-induced constipation among non-cancer and cancer patients on opioid therapy

T2 - A nationwide register-based cohort study in Denmark

AU - Søndergaard, Jens

AU - Christensen, Helene Nordahl

AU - Ibsen, Rikke

AU - Jarbøl, Dorte Ejg

AU - Kjellberg, Jakob

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Background and aim Opioid analgesics are often effective for pain management, but may cause constipation. The aim of this study was to determine healthcare resource use and costs in non-cancer and cancer patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC). Methods This was a nationwide register-based cohort study including patients ≥18 years of age initiating ≥4 weeks opioid therapy (1998–2012) in Denmark. A measure of OIC was constructed based on data from Danish national health registries, and defined as ≥1 diagnosis of constipation, diverticulitis, mega colon, ileus/subileus, abdominal pain/acute abdomen or haemorrhoids and/or ≥2 subsequent prescription issues of laxatives. Total healthcare resource utilization and costs (including pharmacy dispense, inpatient-, outpatient-, emergency room- and primary care) were estimated according to OIC status, opioid treatment dosage and length, gender, age, marital status, and comorbidities using Generalised Linear Model. Results We identified 97 169 eligible opioid users (77 568 non-cancer and 19 601 patients with a cancer diagnosis). Among non-cancer patients, 15% were classified with OIC, 10% had previous constipation, and 75% were without OIC. Patients characteristics of non-cancer OIC patients showed a higher frequency of strong opioid treatment (69% versus 41%), long-term opioid treatment (1189 days versus 584 days), advanced age (73 years versus 61 years), and cardiovascular disease (31% versus 19%) compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Non-cancer patients with OIC had 34% higher total healthcare costs compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Among cancer patients, 35% were classified with OIC, 14% had previous constipation, and 51% were without OIC. A higher proportion of cancer patients with OIC were continuous opioid users (85% versus 83%) and strong opioid users (97% versus 85%), compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Further, the mean number of days on opioids were higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (329 days versus 238 days, P < 0.001). Total healthcare costs were 25% higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Conclusions The results of this nationwide study based on real life data suggested that both non-cancer patients and cancer patients suffering from opioid-induced constipation (OIC) may have higher healthcare resource utilization and higher associated costs compared to those without OIC. Implications Reducing the number of OIC patients has potential cost savings for the health care system. Special attention should be on patients at potential high risk of OIC, such as strong and long-term opioid treatment, advanced age, and concomitant cardiovascular disease.

AB - Background and aim Opioid analgesics are often effective for pain management, but may cause constipation. The aim of this study was to determine healthcare resource use and costs in non-cancer and cancer patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC). Methods This was a nationwide register-based cohort study including patients ≥18 years of age initiating ≥4 weeks opioid therapy (1998–2012) in Denmark. A measure of OIC was constructed based on data from Danish national health registries, and defined as ≥1 diagnosis of constipation, diverticulitis, mega colon, ileus/subileus, abdominal pain/acute abdomen or haemorrhoids and/or ≥2 subsequent prescription issues of laxatives. Total healthcare resource utilization and costs (including pharmacy dispense, inpatient-, outpatient-, emergency room- and primary care) were estimated according to OIC status, opioid treatment dosage and length, gender, age, marital status, and comorbidities using Generalised Linear Model. Results We identified 97 169 eligible opioid users (77 568 non-cancer and 19 601 patients with a cancer diagnosis). Among non-cancer patients, 15% were classified with OIC, 10% had previous constipation, and 75% were without OIC. Patients characteristics of non-cancer OIC patients showed a higher frequency of strong opioid treatment (69% versus 41%), long-term opioid treatment (1189 days versus 584 days), advanced age (73 years versus 61 years), and cardiovascular disease (31% versus 19%) compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). Non-cancer patients with OIC had 34% higher total healthcare costs compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Among cancer patients, 35% were classified with OIC, 14% had previous constipation, and 51% were without OIC. A higher proportion of cancer patients with OIC were continuous opioid users (85% versus 83%) and strong opioid users (97% versus 85%), compared to those without OIC (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). Further, the mean number of days on opioids were higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (329 days versus 238 days, P < 0.001). Total healthcare costs were 25% higher for cancer patients with versus without OIC (P < 0.001) after adjusting for age, gender, opioid usage, marital status and comorbidities. Conclusions The results of this nationwide study based on real life data suggested that both non-cancer patients and cancer patients suffering from opioid-induced constipation (OIC) may have higher healthcare resource utilization and higher associated costs compared to those without OIC. Implications Reducing the number of OIC patients has potential cost savings for the health care system. Special attention should be on patients at potential high risk of OIC, such as strong and long-term opioid treatment, advanced age, and concomitant cardiovascular disease.

U2 - 10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.01.006

DO - 10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.01.006

M3 - Journal article

VL - 15

SP - 83

EP - 90

JO - Scandinavian Journal of Pain

JF - Scandinavian Journal of Pain

SN - 1877-8860

ER -