Objective To study trends of glaucoma medication expenditure from 2001 to 2006 using a nationally representative sample of US adults.
Methods We analyzed glaucoma medication expenditure trends among participants of the 2001-2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a subsample of the National Health Interview Survey, which is a continuous multipurpose, multistage area probability survey of the US civilian noninstitutionalized population. After adjusting for survey design and inflation using the 2009 inflation index, data from 1404 participants 18 years and older using glaucoma medication were analyzed.
Results Mean annual glaucoma medication expenditure per subject increased from $445 in 2001 to $557 in 2006 (slope = 20.8; P < .001). Subgroup analysis showed expenditure increased significantly in women (P = .02), those with public-only insurance (P < .001), and those with less than a high school education (P < .008). Over the survey period, a significant decrease in expenditures on β-blockers (P = .048) and significant increases in expenditures on prostaglandin analogs (P = .01) and α-agonists (P = .01) were found.
Conclusions Factors associated with increasing glaucoma medication expenditure trends include the increasing use of prostaglandin analogs, changes in insurance coverage, and possibly more aggressive glaucoma treatment. The findings are pertinent to the development of cost-effective strategies that optimize treatment and reduce expenditures.