3 years ago

Counting the cost of over-the-counter codeine containing analgesic misuse: A retrospective review of hospital admissions over a 5 year period

Jacinta L. Johnson, Elizabeth D. Hotham, Deanna Mill, Emily Monaghan, Victoria Cock
Introduction and Aims Combination analgesics containing codeine (CACC) are currently available over-the-counter (OTC) in many countries following a pharmacist's advice. Published case reports detail life-threatening morbidities associated with OTC-CACC misuse, although the cost of treating such patients has not been quantified. This study aims to: (i) identify and detail patients admitted to an Australian tertiary teaching hospital over a 5 year period with sequelae of OTC-CACC misuse; and (ii) estimate the costs of identified hospital admissions. Design and Methods Using International Classification of Diseases (10th revision) diagnostic codes, a structured search was performed to identify admissions to a tertiary teaching hospital, relating to CACC misuse, over the defined period. A retrospective case note review provided data detailing patient characteristics, presenting morbidities and resultant interventions, and an approximate cost was calculated for identified admissions. Results Ninety-nine OTC-CACC-related admissions (for 30 individual patients) were identified. Most related to gastrointestinal morbidities secondary to ibuprofen/codeine misuse. Mean length of stay per admission was 5.9 days, with 10.1% of admissions requiring intensive care. Patients consumed a daily mean of 28 OTC-CACC tablets for a mean of 606 days prior to admission. These 99 admissions were estimated to cost the health system AU$1 008 082 with a mean cost per admission of AU$10 183. Discussion and Conclusions The outcomes of OTC-CACC misuse are serious and come at a significant cost to patient health and the Australian health-care system. Identification and management of this cohort appears sub-optimal with delays in diagnosis and high readmission rates.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/dar.12595

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