JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

The impact of delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting on patients, health resource utilization and costs in German cancer centers

A Ihbe-Heffinger, B Ehlken, R Bernard, K Berger, C Peschel, H-G Eichler, R Deuson, J Thödtmann, F Lordick
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 2004, 15 (3): 526-36
14998860

BACKGROUND: Delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) remains a major adverse effect of cancer chemotherapy. We assessed, under current practice patterns, the occurrence and impact on healthcare resource utilization of CINV in patients receiving emetogenic chemotherapy. An additional aim of this study was to estimate costs imputable to CINV in the German healthcare environment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective, multi-center, cross-sectional cost-of-illness study was conducted in three hospitals and in three office-based facilities in Germany. Consecutive patients undergoing emetogenic chemotherapy (levels 4 or 5 according to Hesketh classification of emetogenicity) were enrolled. Data were obtained from preplanned chart reviews and from self-administered patient questionnaires. Analysis of direct costs was performed from the perspectives of third party payer (statutory sick fund), provider (hospital) and patients. Indirect costs were assessed on the basis of paid workdays lost.

RESULTS: During the 5-day observation period, 134 of 208 chemotherapy cycles observed (64.4%) were associated with at least one episode of nausea or vomiting. More patients experienced delayed than acute CINV (60.7% versus 32.8%), and more patients reported nausea than vomiting (62.5% versus 26.0%). A total of 68 patients (32.6%) utilized healthcare resources due to CINV. The most frequently used resources were rescue medications and outpatient hospital and office physician visits. Only one patient required hospitalization and only three patients lost workdays due to CINV. Average costs imputable to CINV per patient (with or without CINV) per treatment cycle incurred by third party payers and hospital providers were Euro 49 and Euro 48, respectively. Patient or treatment characteristics that were associated with high costs imputable to CINV were as follows: cisplatin-containing regimen; experience of emesis; and presence of delayed CINV.

CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of patients continue to experience CINV. This entails not only clinical but also economic consequences, and highlights a continuing need for improved utilization of existing antiemetic agents and for new, more efficacious treatments. The greatest improvements in patient care and potential for cost offset may be realized by preventing delayed CINV.

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