All Publications


  • Patterns of Opioid and Benzodiazepine Use in Opioid-Naive Patients with Newly Diagnosed Low Back and Lower Extremity Pain. Journal of general internal medicine Azad, T. D., Zhang, Y., Stienen, M. N., Vail, D., Bentley, J. P., Ho, A. L., Fatemi, P., Herrick, D., Kim, L. H., Feng, A., Varshneya, K., Jin, M., Veeravagu, A., Bhattacharya, J., Desai, M., Lembke, A., Ratliff, J. K. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: The morbidity and mortality associated with opioid and benzodiazepine co-prescription is a pressing national concern. Little is known about patterns of opioid and benzodiazepine use in patients with acute low back pain or lower extremity pain.OBJECTIVE: To characterize patterns of opioid and benzodiazepine prescribing among opioid-naive, newly diagnosed low back pain (LBP) or lower extremity pain (LEP) patients and to investigate the relationship between benzodiazepine prescribing and long-term opioid use.DESIGN/SETTING: We performed a retrospective analysis of a commercial database containing claims for more than 75 million enrollees in the USA.PARTICIPANTS: Participants were adult patients newly diagnosed with LBP or LEP between 2008 and 2015 who did not have a red flag diagnosis, had not received an opioid prescription in the 6months prior to diagnosis, and had 12months of continuous enrollment after diagnosis.MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Among patients receiving at least one opioid prescription within 12months of diagnosis, we defined discrete patterns of benzodiazepine prescribing-continued use, new use, stopped use, and never use. We tested the association of these prescription patterns with long-term opioid use, defined as six or more fills within 12months.RESULTS: We identified 2,497,653 opioid-naive patients with newly diagnosed LBP or LEP. Between 2008 and 2015, 31.9% and 11.5% of these patients received opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions, respectively, within 12months of diagnosis. Rates of opioid prescription decreased from 34.8% in 2008 to 27.0% in 2015 (P<0.001); however, prescribing of benzodiazepines only decreased from 11.6% in 2008 to 10.8% in 2015. Patients with continued or new benzodiazepine use consistently used more opioids than patients who never used or stopped using benzodiazepines during the study period (one-way ANOVA, P<0.001). For patients with continued and new benzodiazepine use, the odds ratio of long-term opioid use compared with those never prescribed a benzodiazepine was 2.99 (95% CI, 2.89-3.08) and 2.68 (95% CI, 2.62-2.75), respectively.LIMITATIONS: This study used administrative claims analyses, which rely on accuracy and completeness of diagnostic, procedural, and prescription codes.CONCLUSION: Overall opioid prescribing for low back pain or lower extremity pain decreased substantially during the study period, indicating a shift in management within the medical community. Rates of benzodiazepine prescribing, however, remained at approximately 11%. Concurrent prescriptions of benzodiazepines and opioids after LBP or LEP diagnosis were associated with increased risk of long-term opioid use.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11606-019-05549-8

    View details for PubMedID 31720966

  • When Global ART Budgets Cannot Cover All Patients, Who Should Be Eligible? JAIDS-JOURNAL OF ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROMES Zhang, Y., Baernighausen, T., Eyal, N. 2019; 81 (2): 134–37
  • Expenditures and Health Care Utilization Among Adults With Newly Diagnosed LowBack and Lower Extremity Pain JAMA NETWORK OPEN Kim, L. H., Vail, D., Azad, T. D., Bentley, J. P., Zhang, Y., Ho, A. L., Fatemi, P., Feng, A., Varshneya, K., Desai, M., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K. 2019; 2 (5)
  • Outcomes and costs following Ommaya placement with thrombocytopenia among US cancer patients. World neurosurgery Zhang, M., Zhang, Y., Zheng, E., Gephart, M. H., Veeravagu, A., Desai, A., Ratliff, J. K., Li, G. 2019

    Abstract

    Placement of Ommaya reservoirs for administration of intrathecal chemotherapy may be complicated by comorbid thrombocytopenia among patients with hematologic or leptomeningeal disease. Aggregated data on risks of Ommaya placement among thrombocytopenic patients is lacking. This study assesses complications, revision rates, and costs associated with Ommaya placement among patients with thrombocytopenia in a large population sample.Using a national administrative database, this retrospective study identifies a cohort of adult cancer patients who underwent Ommaya placement between 2007 and 2016. Preoperative thrombocytopenia was defined as diagnosis of secondary thrombocytopenia, bleeding event, procedure to control bleeding, or platelet transfusion, within 30 days prior to index admission. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess costs, 30-day complications, readmissions, and revisions among patients with and without preoperative thrombocytopenia.The analytic cohort included 1652 patients, of whom 29.3% met criteria for preoperative thrombocytopenia. In-hospital mortality rates were 7.7% among thrombocytopenic patients vs. 1.2% among non-thrombocytopenic patients (p < 0.001). Preoperative thrombocytopenia was associated with 14.5 times greater hazard of intracranial hemorrhage within 30 days following Ommaya placement, occurring in 25.6% vs. 2.0% of thrombocytopenic and non-thrombocytopenic patients, respectively (p < 0.014). Revision rates did not differ significantly between thrombocytopenic and non-thrombocytopenic patients. Thrombocytopenia was associated with longer length of stay (7.4 vs 13.9 days, p < 0.001) and additional $10,000 per patient in costs of index hospitalization (p < 0.001).This is the largest study to date documenting costs and complication rates of Ommaya placement in patients with and without thrombocytopenia.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.12.063

    View details for PubMedID 31866457

  • Appropriate Health Resource Rationing in a Non-Ideal World. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999) Zhang, Y., Bärnighausen, T., Eyal, N. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002127

    View details for PubMedID 31335592

  • Lumboperitoneal and Ventriculoperitoneal Shunting for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension Demonstrate Comparable Failure and Complication Rates. Neurosurgery Azad, T. D., Zhang, Y., Varshneya, K., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K., Li, G. 2019

    Abstract

    Idiopathic intracranial hypertension results in increased intracranial pressure leading to headache and visual loss. This disease frequently requires surgical intervention through lumboperitoneal (LP) or ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting.To compare postoperative outcomes between LP and VP shunts, including failure and complication rates.A retrospective analysis was conducted using a national administrative database (MarketScan) to identify idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) patients who underwent LP or VP shunting from 2007 to 2014. Multivariate logistic and Cox regressions were performed to compare rates of shunt failure and time to shunt failure between LP and VP shunts while controlling for demographics and comorbidities.The analytic cohort included 1082 IIH patients, 347 of whom underwent LP shunt placement at index hospitalization and 735 of whom underwent VP shunt placement. Rates of shunt failure were similar among patients with LP and VP shunt (34.6% vs 31.7%; P = .382). Among patients who experienced shunt failure, the mean number of shunt failures was 2.1 ± 1.6 and was similar between LP and VP cohorts. Ninety-day readmission rates, complication rates, and costs did not differ significantly between LP and VP shunts. Patients who experienced more than two shunt failures tended to have an earlier time to first shunt failure (hazard ratio 1.41; 95% confidence interval 1.08-1.85; P = .013).These findings suggest that LP and VP shunts may have comparable rates of shunt failure and complication. Regardless of shunt type, earlier time to first shunt failure may be associated with multiple shunt failures.

    View details for PubMedID 30937428