Open Access Research article

A Cost-Consequences analysis of the effect of Pregabalin in the treatment of peripheral Neuropathic Pain in routine medical practice in Primary Care settings

Ana Navarro1*, María T Saldaña2, Concepción Pérez3, Sandra Torrades4 and Javier Rejas5

Author Affiliations

1 Primary Care Health Centre Puerta del Ángel, Madrid, Spain

2 Primary Care Health Centre Raíces, Castrillón, Asturias, Spain

3 Pain Clinics, Hospital de la Princesa, Madrid, Spain

4 Department of Project Management, European Biometrics Institute, Barcelona, Spain

5 Health Outcomes Research Department, Medical Unit, Pfizer España, Alcobendas, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neurology 2011, 11:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-7

Published: 20 January 2011

Abstract

Background

Neuropathic pain (NeP) is a common symptom of a group of a variety of conditions, including diabetic neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, or postherpetic neuralgia. Prevalence of NeP has been estimated to range between 5-7.5%, and produces up to 25% of pain clinics consultations. Due to its severity, chronic evolution, and associated co-morbidities, NeP has an important individual and social impact. The objective was to analyze the effect of pregabalin (PGB) on pain alleviation and longitudinal health and non-health resources utilization and derived costs in peripheral refractory NeP in routine medical practice in primary care settings (PCS) in Spain.

Methods

Subjects from PCS were older than 18 years, with peripheral NeP (diabetic neuropathy, post-herpetic neuralgia or trigeminal neuralgia), refractory to at least one previous analgesic, and included in a prospective, real world, and 12-week two-visit cost-of-illness study. Measurement of resources utilization included both direct healthcare and indirect expenditures. Pain severity was measured by the Short Form-McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ).

Results

One-thousand-three-hundred-fifty-four PGB-naive patients [58.8% women, 59.5 (12.7) years old] were found eligible for this secondary analysis: 598 (44%) switched from previous therapy to PGB given in monotherapy (PGBm), 589 (44%) received PGB as add-on therapy (PGB add-on), and 167 (12%) patients changed previous treatments to others different than PGB (non-PGB). Reductions of pain severity were higher in both PGBm and PGB add-on groups (54% and 51%, respectively) than in non-PGB group (34%), p < 0.001. Incremental drug costs, particularly in PGB subgroups [€34.6 (80.3), €160.7 (123.9) and €154.5 (133.0), for non-PGB, PGBm and PGBadd-on, respectively (p < 0.001)], were off-set by higher significant reductions in all other components of health costs yielding to a greater total cost reductions: -€1,045.3 (1,989.6),-€1,312.9 (1,543.0), and -€1,565.5 (2,004.1), for the three groups respectively (p = 0.03).

Conclusion

In Spanish primary care settings, PGB given either add-on or in monotherapy in routine medical practice was associated with pain alleviation leading to significant longitudinal reductions in resource use and total costs during the 12-week period of the study compared with non-PGB-therapy of patients with chronic NeP of peripheral origin. The use of non-appropriate analgesic therapies for neuropathic pain in a portion of subjects in non-PGB group could explain partially such findings.