Comparison of Drug Utilization Patterns in Observational Data: Antiepileptic Drugs in Pediatric Patients
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CitationBourgeois, Florence T., Karen L. Olson, Annapurna Poduri, and Kenneth D. Mandl. 2015. “Comparison of Drug Utilization Patterns in Observational Data: Antiepileptic Drugs in Pediatric Patients.” Pediatric Drugs 17 (5) (June 13): 401–410. doi:10.1007/s40272-015-0139-z.
AbstractPurpose: Physicians require information on the comparative benefits and harms of medications for optimal treatment decisions. However, this type of data is limited, especially for pediatric patients.
Objective: Our aim was to use observational data to measure and compare medication utilization patterns in a pediatric patient population. Methods: Using pharmacy claims data from a large, national-scale insurance program in the US, we identified all patients with a diagnosis of epilepsy treated with a first-generation (carabamazepine, ethosuximide, phenobarbital, phenytoin, valproate) or second-generation (carbamazepine XR, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, tiagabine, topiramate, valproate XR, zonisamide) antiepileptic drug. Treatment periods were defined based on prescription fill dates and medication days supplied. Medication use was measured for individual antiepileptic drugs and for first-generation and second-generation drugs as groups. Results: There were 2527 (54%) patients who initiated therapy with first-generation and 2139 (46%) with second-generation antiepileptics. First- and second-generation drugs had the same one-year retention rates (26% [95%CI 24–28] and 26% [95%CI 25–28], respectively). A total of 26% (95%CI 25–28) and 29% (95%CI 27–31) of patients who started on a first- or second-generation antiepileptic medication, respectively, resumed treatment with the initial drug after discontinuation. Overall, 73% (95%CI 71–74) of patients were treated with only one antiepileptic drug, with similar rates for patients started on first- and second-generation drugs (71% [95%CI 69–73] vs 74% [95%CI 72–76]). Conclusions: Comparing drug utilization patterns in a pediatric population using observational data, we found similar rates of retention and therapeutic changes. These findings are consistent with available comparative data and demonstrate an approach that could be extended to other drug classes and conditions in pediatric populations to examine drug effectiveness.
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