Research Highlights Trends in Cal/BD Foam Psoriasis Treatment for Medicare Patients

New research highlights the growing number of claims among all providers, including advanced practice practitioners and non-dermatologists, of Cal/BD foam usage for Medicare beneficiaries.

Brandon Smith, BA

A recent letter to the editor outlined trends in topical calcipotiene/betamethasone dipropionate (Cal/BD) foam usage for Medicare patients with psoriasis, including trends such as rising Cal/BD foam claims among all providers.

The research included in the letter was led by Brandon Smith, BA, of Drexel University College of Medicine, and Aislyn Oulee, BS, of the University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine.

“Calcipotriene/betamethasone dipropionate (Cal/BD) foam, a viable topical treatment option for plaque psoriasis, has proven to be efficacious for patients with mild psoriasis or as an adjunctive therapy for patients that are not effectively managed with systemic treatment, Smith, Oulee, and colleagues wrote. “Despite growing evidence of the benefits of Cal/BD foam, there is limited research discussing the trends in usage by providers.”

Background and Findings

The investigators examined Cal/BD foam utilization trends among prescribers for the Medicare beneficiary population, utilizing Medicare part D prescriber datasets from the period of 2016 to 2020.

They also explored prescriber characteristic and clinical setting trends through the use of the National Provider Identifier (NPI) for clinicians having a minimum of 11 yearly claims.

Their research into Cal/BD foam usage trends led to the discovery of several key points of interest, including the following:

  • Dermatologists were the most common group of prescribers, although rises have been observed in several groups
  • Medicare part D total claims were found to have risen substantially, at an average yearly rate of change of 34.7% (P = 0.0006).
  • Total cost claims over the time frame examined also appear to have risen significantly, hitting $6.7 million by 2020
  • Private practice providers were found to have the average yearly rate of change, at about 50.8%, with prescribers operating out of Southern states at 68.3%

“The predominant utilization of Cal/BD foam in private practice settings may be a result of more patients visiting these clinical settings,” they wrote. “Furthermore, patients in academic centers may have higher severity of disease requiring more potent systemics. Most claims were by providers in metropolitan counties, which may reflect increased access to care.

They investigators added that the increasing number of Cal/BD foam prescribers in clinical settings could end up being beneficial, citing the slowly rising costs of biologics for Medicare patients.

The letter, “Annual trends in Medicare part D prescription claims for calcipotriene/betamethasone dipropionate foam for psoriasis 2016–2020,” was published online in the International Journal of Dermatology.

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