Targeted drug delivery and conventional medical management have shown to have a reduction in healthcare use and costs for cancer patients in comparison to conventional medical management alone, according to a new study from Medtronic.
The study found that there were significant cost savings to payers and fewer inpatient visits with shorter inpatient stays. It also showed that there were fewer emergency department visits for people who used targeted drug delivery (TDD) and conventional medical management (CMM).
Medtronic suggests that TDD therapy had a significant average overall cost savings of $63,498 with fewer opioid prescriptions per patient. The company says that TDD, when delivered through Medtronic’s SynchroMed II Infusion System, could be an alternative to oral opioids.
The SynchroMed II Infusion System is an implantable pump that can deliver medication directly to fluid around the spinal cord. It allows clinicians to prescribe smaller doses compared to systemically delivered medications.
“TDD should be considered as an option for patients with cancer-related pain,” Dr. Lisa Stearns, lead researcher on the study, said in a press release. “It is proven safe and effective for cancer pain patients, offering pain relief and improvements in quality of life. Now, TDD also demonstrates a robust financial benefit, which is especially significant as the incidence and societal burden of cancer continues to increase.”
The study was conducted using a large U.S. claims database to compare mean total commercial payer costs and healthcare use at two, six and 12 months. The researchers matched commercial insurance beneficiaries with patients who had severe uncontrolled cancer pain and were receiving TDD and CMM or CMM alone. There were 268 patients on the study who were matched based on age, sex, cancer type, comorbidity score and pre-enrollment characteristics.
Results from the study showed that there was a mean total cost savings of $15,142 at two months and $63,498 at 12 months. Savings at 6 months was not statistically significant, according to the Medtronic study. There was also fewer inpatient visits at two, six and 12 months and shorter hospital stays at two months (average difference, 6.8 days), six months (average difference, 6.8 days) and 12 months (average difference, 10.6 days). Fewer prescription opioids were prescribed at 12 months.
Medtronic says that TDD is safe and effective for managing cancer pain in patients who have a life expectancy of three months or more. At four weeks, 60% of patients who were using TDD and CMM had reported a pain score of less than four, compared to the 42% who were using CMM alone. Patients receiving TDD and CMM also reported fewer side effects and had improvements in function.
“Despite evidence that TDD provides better pain relief with fewer side effects than CMM, and has the potential to reduce oral opioid use, it is underutilized with appropriate patients,” Charlie Covert, VP and general manager of the Targeted Drug Delivery business at Medtronic, said. “The results of this study complement the growing body of TDD data demonstrating the value of TDD to patients at the healthcare system.”