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High Costs Common With Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

December 19, 2018

Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis used a considerable amount of hospital resources and, as a result, tended to be a source of high costs, according to a study abstract in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy.

“Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rare, chronic, and serious pulmonary disease of unknown etiology,” researchers explained. “After IPF diagnosis, patients have been shown to incur substantial economic burden, and high health resource use and associated hospitalization cost.”

The study looked at the first 300 patients with billing information enrolled in the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Prospective Outcomes (IPF-PRO) Registry in the United States, which was launched in June 2014. The study population was 75% male and 95% white. The average age was 69 years.

A history of smoking was common, with nearly 70% of participants reporting current or past smoking. At the time of enrollment, some 66% had forced vital capacity percent predicted value between 50% and 80%. Just over half of participants had been treated with antifibrotics.

During the first year after registry enrollment, 27.7% of the population had 1 or more hospitalizations and 9.7% had 1 or more emergency department visits. Patients spent an average 2.2 days in hospital and 0.8 days in intensive care. Acute care costs averaged $14,073, while the cost of hospitalizations with an ICU stay averaged $11,438.

Predicted carbon monoxide diffusing capacity 30% or higher was linked with a 50% lower risk compared with below 30% predicted, the study found. Living in the Northeast was associated with twice the risk of being hospitalized compared with living in the South. Previous hospitalizations linked with diabetes and respiratory issues were associated with a 4-times higher risk an emergency department visit.

“Effective care management for IPF should aim to improve health outcomes and reduce hospital costs,” researchers advised, “which may be achieved by the maintenance of lung function.”

The study, which was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, was presented at AMCP Nexus 2018.

Jolynn Tumolo


Fan Y, Bender S, Conoscenti C, et al. Hospital-based resource use and costs among patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis enrolled in the IPF-PRO registry. Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy. 2018;24(10-a):S71.

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