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One-year claims analysis comparing inhaled fluticasone propionate with zafirlukast for the treatment of asthma.

BACKGROUND: Randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that fluticasone propionate (FP) has better objective as well as subjective clinical outcomes than zafirlukast (ZA) in the treatment of asthma.

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to determine whether the superiority of FP over ZA observed in clinical trials is supported under actual practice conditions.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort analysis of pharmacy and medical claims for asthma was performed. Patients were identified who had at least 1 ICD-9 (493.XX) claim for asthma and were recently prescribed inhaled FP or ZA. Subjects could not have had a claim for any inhaled corticosteroid or oral leukotriene modifier in the 9 months before initiation of FP or ZA. They were subsequently observed for 12 months.

RESULTS: A total of 725 persons were new users of FP and 309 of ZA. FP was associated with a 70% reduced risk for hospitalization (P =.0232), a 49% lower risk for an emergency department event (P =.0546), and a 51% reduction in combined emergency department events and hospitalizations (P =.0268) when compared with ZA. Adjusted annual asthma care costs declined significantly for FP and increased for ZA. The adjusted mean difference in annual asthma costs was $215 less per patient for FP (P <.0001).

CONCLUSION: Asthma care costs decreased for patients treated with FP and increased for patients treated with ZA. Furthermore, FP-treated patients had significantly lower risks of asthma-related hospitalization than ZA patients. This study supports results seen in clinical trials comparing these two medications.

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