Inequities in Filled Overactive Bladder Medication Prescriptions in the US.

Anticholinergic medications to treat overactive bladder (OAB) have been associated with increased risk of cognitive decline, whereas β3-adrenoceptor agonists (hereafter, β3-agonists) have comparable efficacy and do not carry the same risk. Yet, anticholinergics remain the predominant OAB medication prescribed in the US.

To evaluate whether patient race, ethnicity, and sociodemographic characteristics are associated with receipt of anticholinergic vs β3-agonist OAB medications.

This study is a cross-sectional analysis of the 2019 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a representative sample of US households. Participants included individuals with a filled OAB medication prescription. Data analysis was performed from March to August 2022.

A prescription for medication to treat OAB.

The primary outcomes were receipt of a β3-agonist or an anticholinergic OAB medication.

An estimated 2 971 449 individuals (mean age, 66.4 years; 95% CI, 64.8-68.2 years) filled prescriptions for OAB medications in 2019; 2 185 214 (73.5%; 95% CI, 62.6%-84.5%) identified as female, 2 326 901 (78.3%; 95% CI, 66.3%-90.3%) self-identified as non-Hispanic White, 260 685 (8.8%; 95% CI, 5.0%-12.5%) identified as non-Hispanic Black, 167 210 (5.6%; 95% CI, 3.1%-8.2%) identified as Hispanic, 158 507 (5.3%; 95% CI, 2.3%-8.4%) identified as non-Hispanic other race, and 58 147 (2.0%; 95% CI, 0.3%-3.6%) identified as non-Hispanic Asian. A total of 2 229 297 individuals (75.0%) filled an anticholinergic prescription, and 590 255 (19.9%) filled a β3-agonist prescription, with 151 897 (5.1%) filling prescriptions for both medication classes. β3-agonists had a median out-of-pocket cost of $45.00 (95% CI, $42.11-$47.89) per prescription compared with $9.78 (95% CI, $9.16-$10.42) for anticholinergics. After controlling for insurance status, individual sociodemographic factors, and medical contraindications, non-Hispanic Black individuals were 54% less likely than non-Hispanic White individuals to fill a prescription for a β3-agonist vs an anticholinergic medication (adjusted odds ratio, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.22-0.98). In interaction analysis, non-Hispanic Black women had an even lower odds of filing a β3-agonist prescription (adjusted odds ratio, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.04-0.27).

In this cross-sectional study of a representative sample of US households, non-Hispanic Black individuals were significantly less likely than non-Hispanic White individuals to have filled a β3-agonist prescription compared with an anticholinergic OAB prescription. These differences may reflect an inequity in prescribing behaviors promulgating health care disparities. Targeted research should assess the relative contribution of a variety of individual and societal factors.

JAMA network open. 2023 May 01*** epublish ***

Douglas Luchristt, C Emi Bretschneider, Kimberly Kenton, Melissa Simon, Oluwateniola Brown

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

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