Opioid Use and Health Care Charges at the End of Life in Patients with Metastatic Cancer

Ariel Berger, Meredith Smith, Loren Lidsky, Raafat Seifeldin, Gerry Oster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Opioid use and health care charges during the final year of life in patients with metastatic cancer who received controlled-release oxycodone (CRO), transdermal fentanyl (TF), or controlled-release morphine sulfate (CRM) were examined in the following study. A total of 704 patients were identified who met study entry criteria; CRO, TF, or CRM was the first-received long-acting opioid (LAO) during the last year of life for 36% (N = 250), 29% (N = 203), and 36% (N = 251) of study subjects, respectively. On average, patients initiated LAO therapy three to four months before death. One-half of patients received less than 60 days of LAO therapy. Mean total health care charges in the final year of life were $84,572 for patients receiving CRO, $90,935 for patients receiving TF, and $76,446 for patients receiving CRM. Patients receiving TF started LAO therapy closer to their date of death, and had significantly higher hospitalization charges than did patients receiving CRO and CRM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalManaged Care Interface
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


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