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Friday, April 18, 2008

Xoponex may soon rival Albuterol in cost

Apparently, Medicare has decided to list Xoponex under the same reimbursement codes as Albuterol, meaning the cost of Xoponex may drop as much as 70-80%. This could mean a lot for any person in need of a rescue drug, because it will provide doctors, RTs and patients with more options.

Of course this decision could be reversed, but if not, it could provide another cost effective option in the care of patients with COPD and asthma. Some studies have shown that patients given Xoponex in the hospital got better faster, other more recent studies show that Xoponex works no better than Albuterol.

And, while some studies initially showed that Xoponex has fewer side effects than Albuterol, more recent studies show otherwise. These new study results may or may not have had an effect on the Medicare boards decision.

Either way, doctors at Shoreline have been instructed to stop using Xoponex as a front line bronchodilator based on the more recent studies. For more information, check out this article.

Personally, based on my experience with Xoponex, I don't think it's worth the added cost. However, if the cost of Xoponex is going to be the same as Albuterol, doctors, RTs, hospitals and, most important, patients will be able to try both meds to see which one works best for them.


Anonymous said...

Is Xopenex available in an MDI or just the nebs? And just out of curiosity, how do those people who use nebs for rescue do so when out and about? Are there little neb machines that are portable? I've only worked in facilities, not home health, and son has MDI's. Thanks!
-lpnmon (I did finally get a Blogger account, but it doesn't like me, apparently.)

Amy said...

This is GREAT news, IMO. I've read those studies, but I really think Xopnenex seemed to affect my daughter less than albuterol when she was little. But either way, more cost-effective options for meds is always a plus.

Freadom said...

lpnmon: Xopenex is now available in an MDI, however it is currently not cost effective to go that route for most patients. There are portable nebs that can be plugged into the car. There's all sorts of portable nebs to be honest.

Amy: Yes, the neat thing about the cost of Xoponex going down is it makes it more readily available, and the more choices we have the better.

IronLung said...

Maybe I'm being dense, but I'm not sure how this is going to be more cost-effective (not that I'm a big Xop fan either). I read the article saying reimbursement, not cost, is going to drop. Xop sales are expected to drop as much as 30%. Sepracor stock dropped 11%. I'm thinking this is because Xopenex will now be MORE expensive, not less, because there will be less reimbursement. Am I missing something?

Freadom said...

Iron lung: You are not dense. What I was referring to was that the reimbursement of Xoponex is going to be the same as Albuterol, and therefore, for Medicaid patients, the cost of Xoponex will be equal to Albuterol. Perhaps I should have clarified that.

The company cost would remain the same, meaning the manufacturers of Xoponex will take a loss of as much as 75-80% per amp of Xoponex, and that is why the stock of the company dropped.

It must also be noted that the reason the Medicaid code may change is studies have failed to show Xoponex is any better than Albuterol, as the company claims.

IronLung said...

Ah. Thanks for clearing that up!

Freadom said...

No, thank you for making me aware of my screwup.

IronLung said...

In similar news, I noticed that my facility has found generic DuoNeb. Now that's something to celebrate!