Cost of glaucoma medications may impact treatment

December 28, 2007

Philadelphia, December 28, 2007 - In the United States, the management of glaucoma costs about $2.5 billion per year. Of the $1.9 billion in direct costs, glaucoma medications account for an estimated 38% to 52% of the total. In an article published in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, researchers from The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple, Texas; analyzed the economics of medically managing glaucoma. The yearly costs to patients of various topical glaucoma medications were calculated and significant price differences and increases in cost over time were found.

The researchers looked at four classes of pharmaceuticals; ß-blockers, prostaglandins, α2-agonists and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors. They compared both brand-name and generic formulations, evaluated how accurately the bottles were filled and how accurately the medications could be dispensed by patients. Using results from earlier studies, the increases in Average Wholesale Prices (AWP) were also evaluated from 1999 through 2006.

Nonselective ß-blockers remain the most inexpensive class of glaucoma medications. For all categories of drugs, calculated yearly cost ranged from $150.81 for generic timolol maleate 0.5% (ß-blocker), to $697.42 for Cosopt (combination formulation), to as high as $873.98 for a three-times-daily dose of Alphagan P 0.15% (α2-agonist). Among brand name ß-blockers, yearly cost ranged between $203.47 for Timoptic 0.5% and $657.24 for Betoptic S. Generic ß-blockers consistently were more economical than their brand-name counterparts. Yearly cost of prostaglandin analogs ranged from $427.69 for Travatan to $577.62 for Lumigan. The two carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, Azopt and Trusopt, yielded similar economic profiles. The generic selective α2-agonist brimonidine tartrate 0.2% costs approximately $352.89 and $529.34 per year for the respective two and three drops daily per eye regimens.

AWP trends through two periods, 1999 to 2006 and 2002 to 2006, showed significant increases, even within a category. For example, in the ß-blockers, Betoptic S increased nearly 100 % from 1999 to 2006, while Timoptic, increased only 11.7 %. In the period 2002 to 2006, the AWP of Timoptic remained constant.

Writing in the article, Steven D. Vold states, "Physicians consider many factors when treating patients with glaucoma. Ultimately, the goal of eye care providers is to give the best, most cost-effective care to their patients. Our study addresses the calculated cost per year passed on to the patient for single medication treatment plans...As newer medications and treatment schemes are introduced, future studies will be needed to update the rapidly changing economic information pertaining to the medical management of glaucoma."
-end-
The article is "Cost Analysis of Glaucoma Medications" by Nathan R. Rylander and Steven D. Vold. It appears in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 145, Issue 1, (January 2008), and is published by Elsevier.

Elsevier Health Sciences

Related Glaucoma Articles from Brightsurf:

Monitoring glaucoma at home
Glaucoma is a chronic condition that affects cells at the back of the eye.

Study finds novel mechanism that may confer protection against glaucoma
A team of researchers from LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence and the University of Copenhagen provides the first evidence that patients with ocular hypertension may exhibit superior antioxidant protection that promotes resistance to the elevated intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

AI-supported test for very early signs of glaucoma progression
A new test can detect glaucoma progression 18 months earlier than the current gold standard method, according to results from a UCL-sponsored clinical trial.

New method gives glaucoma researchers control over eye pressure
Neuroscientists have developed a new method that permits continuous regulation of eye pressure without damage, becoming the first to definitively prove pressure in the eye is sufficient to cause and explain glaucoma.

Glaucoma care in prison inmates
Data fromĀ 82 prison inmates treated in a glaucoma clinic at an academic hospital were used in this observational study to report on how treatment and follow-up, including medication adherence, were are managed.

New glaucoma test to help prevent blindness
Researchers have identified 107 genes that increase a person's risk of developing the eye disease glaucoma, and now developed a genetic test to detect those at risk of going blind from it.

Air pollution linked to higher glaucoma risk
Living in a more polluted area is associated with a greater likelihood of having glaucoma, a debilitating eye condition that can cause blindness, finds a new UCL-led study in the UK.

Long-term statin use associated with lower glaucoma risk
A new study brings the connection between statin use and risk of glaucoma into sharper focus.

Health burden of glaucoma has risen worldwide
The health burden of glaucoma has continuously increased around the globe in the past 25 years, according to an Acta Opthalmologica study.

UAlberta scientists first to pinpoint a cause of pigmentary glaucoma
An international team of researchers has identified a gene responsible for the onset of pigmentary glaucoma, which may lead to new therapies for the condition.

Read More: Glaucoma News and Glaucoma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.