Study: Relistor SC Can Reduce Hospitalizations and Health Care Costs

This real-world study found that patients who received Relistor SC during an emergency department visit for opioid induced constipation had lower costs and hospital lengths of stay.

Hospitalization rates, length of stay and health care costs decrease when treating opioid-induced constipation (OIC) with FDA-approved prescription medications, according to a new study in one hospital system published in Advances in Therapy.

In this real-world retrospective health economic and outcome research, more than 30,000 adult patients with opioid-induced constipation during an emergency department encounter were identified from a large hospital-based encounter database (2016 to 2019).

Investigators classified patients into two cohorts — the OIC-Rx cohort (11,135 patients) and the No OIC-Rx cohort (21,474 patients).

More than 90% of the OIC-Rx cohort received Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) subcutaneous injection. Health care resource utilization and costs were measured and compared during the emergency department encounter (with or without hospitalization), as well as during the 30-day post-discharge period.

Investigators found that patients in the OIC-Rx cohort had 64% decreased odds of being hospitalized versus the No OIC-Rx cohort. The subgroup of patients in the OIC-Rx cohort who received Relistor 0.7 fewer inpatient days per OIC emergency room encounter versus the No-OIC-Rx cohort.

The Relistor subgroup also had a $781 reduction in health care costs per OIC emergency department encounter versus the No OIC-Rx cohort ($1,603 vs. $2,384). During the 30-day post-discharge period, the Relistor subgroup had a $392 reduction in health care costs associated with any re-encounters versus the No OIC-Rx cohort ($1,545 vs. $1,937).

“Emergency department visits and hospitalizations are significantly higher for patients who are taking opioids to manage chronic pain from serious conditions like cancer and experiencing OIC,” William F. Peacock, M.D., lead author and director of Research at Baylor College of Medicine, said in a press release. “This research provides meaningful evidence to support the use of prescription medicines in treating OIC to potentially reduce health care costs and improve patient care.”

Investigators point out one limitation is that the database used did not include physician notes, safety or adverse event reports, or information outside the encounter, such as whether a patient used over-the-counter laxatives.

Relistor is an opioid antagonist approved to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic non-cancer pain.

This study was funded by Bausch Health US; Relistor SC is distributed in the United States by Salix Pharmaceuticals, a division of Bausch Health US.