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Table 3 Study population: asthma characteristics

From: The impact of generic-only drug benefits on patients' use of inhaled corticosteroids in a Medicare population with asthma

   Unrestricted Coverage Restricted Coverage
Characteristic Total Lower-cost ICS User in 2003 Higher-cost ICS User in 2003 Lower-cost ICS User in 2003 Higher-cost ICS User in 2003
No. subjects 1,802 293 175 847 487
High-risk asthma flag in 2002* 12.1% 10.9% 17.1% 9.0% 16.4%
ED visit or hospitalization for asthma in 2002 6.7% 9.2% 5.1% 5.3% 8.2%
Oral steroid Rx dispensed in 2002 31.4% 27.7% 32.6% 27.5% 39.8%
Low ICS dose level in 2002 31.4% 55.3% 10.9% 53.5% 14.0%
Medium ICS dose level in 2002 36.2% 36.5% 37.1% 36.6% 35.1%
High ICS dose level in 2002 24.8% 8.2% 52.0% 9.9% 50.9%
  Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD) Mean (SD)
No. of rescue medication canisters dispensed in 2002 3.73 (4.79) 3.57 (4.80) 4.06 (5.10) 3.44 (4.12) 4.18 (5.64)
ICS Days-of-supply in 2003** 187.5 (103.3) 200.0 (107.2) 204.4 (104.3) 187.8 (102.7) 173.4 (99.9)
ICS Days-of-supply in 2004** 161.3 (120.3) 184.7 (124.7) 184.4 (119.0) 162.0 (120.9) 137.5 (112.8)
  1. Notes: Lower-cost ICS Users in 2003 defined as patients with greater use of lower-cost than higher-cost ICS drugs in 2003. ICS dose level categorized based on the first prescription in 2002 and the Global Initiative for Asthma treatment guidelines.
  2. * The registry classified patients as high-risk if they met any of the following criteria: (1) ≥ 1 inpatient admissions with a primary asthma diagnosis in the previous 12 months, (2) ≥ 1 inpatient admissions with a secondary asthma diagnosis in the previous 12 months, accompanied by a primary asthma-related diagnosis, (3) ≥ 1 ED visits with an asthma diagnosis in the previous six months, (4) ≥ 5 prescriptions for asthma medication in the previous six months with ≥ 2 oral steroid prescriptions in the previous 12 months, or (5) ≥ 12 canisters of inhaled beta-agonists in the previous 12 months.
  3. ** p < .05 for difference between unrestricted and restricted coverage groups