Contrasting Clinician and Insurer Perspectives to Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Multilevel Modeling Analysis

Eric D. Shah, Lin Chang, Jessica K. Salwen-Deremer, Peter R. Gibson, Laurie Keefer, Jane G. Muir, Shanti Eswaran, William D. Chey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:Insurance coverage is an important determinant of treatment choice in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), often taking precedence over desired mechanisms of action or patient goals/values. We aimed to determine whether routine and algorithmic coverage restrictions are cost-effective from a commercial insurer perspective.METHODS:A multilevel microsimulation tracking costs and outcomes among 10 million hypothetical moderate-to-severe patients with IBS was developed to model all possible algorithms including common global IBS treatments (neuromodulators; low fermentable oligo-, di-, and mono-saccharides, and polyols; and cognitive behavioral therapy) and prescription drugs treating diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D) or constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C) over 1 year.RESULTS:Routinely using global IBS treatments (central neuromodulator; low fermentable oligo-, di-, and mono-saccharides, and polyols; and cognitive behavioral therapy) before US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug therapies resulted in per-patient cost savings of $9,034.59 for IBS-D and $2,972.83 for IBS-C over 1 year to insurers, compared with patients starting with on-label drug therapy. Health outcomes were similar, regardless of treatment sequence. Costs varied less than $200 per year, regardless of the global IBS treatment order. The most cost-saving and cost-effective IBS-D algorithm was rifaximin, then eluxadoline, followed by alosetron. The most cost-saving and cost-effective IBS-C algorithm was linaclotide, followed by either plecanatide or lubiprostone. In no scenario were prescription drugs routinely more cost-effective than global IBS treatments, despite a stronger level of evidence with prescription drugs. These findings were driven by higher prescription drug prices as compared to lower costs with global IBS treatments.DISCUSSION:From an insurer perspective, routine and algorithmic prescription drug coverage restrictions requiring failure of low-cost behavioral, dietary, and off-label treatments appear cost-effective. Efforts to address insurance coverage and drug pricing are needed so that healthcare providers can optimally care for patients with this common, heterogenous disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-757
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume116
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021

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