Estimates of pain care treatment costs exceed $1 billion annually in the USA, according to two presentations at the American Academy of Pain Medicine's 26th Annual Meeting. One evaluated intrathecal drug delivery (a targeted medicine delivery system) that could save costs over time. The other analyzed the differences between the costs of treatment for chronic pain treatments.
In the first abstract, Scott Guillemette from Ingenix Consulting analyzed costs for intrathecal drug delivery (IDD). The implantable neuromodulatory device, which delivers medicine directly to the spinal cord, was used to treat pain patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). The results of the analysis suggest that patients utilizing IDD moved closer to a normal lifestyle more quickly than those on conventional therapy such as oral medicines, or physical therapy. This was found to correlate to lower future medical costs, such as doctor visits and additional intervention.
"The cost effectiveness of novel interventional treatments, coupled with outcomes associated with these newer approaches, is increasingly an important part of a treatment decision," said Mr Guillemette. "Our analysis showed that, while there was a higher upfront cost, patients utilizing IDD returned to 'normal living' more quickly than conventional therapy. And, in the long term, our modeling shows it was more cost effective because they made fewer doctor visits and required less additional therapy to alleviate their pain," he noted.