Consequences of insurance denials among U.S. patients prescribed repository corticotropin injection (Acthar Gel) for nephrotic syndrome

Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2021


Repository corticotropin injection (RCI; Acthar Gel) is indicated to induce a diuresis or a remission of proteinuria in nephrotic syndrome (NS) without uremia of the idiopathic type or that due to lupus erythematosus. This study compares patient characteristics and measurable healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) between NS patients who received a prescription for RCI and then were either approved or denied treatment by their insurers.


A retrospective analysis of adults with NS from January 2015 to December 2018 was conducted using a de-identified open-source claims database. Patients were included in the study if they had ≥1diagnosis associated with NS, were age 18+, and had medical claims activity at some point in the year preceding ("baseline") and year following ("follow up") their first approved or denied RCI prescription. Baseline characteristics were reported with p-values indicating the significance of characteristics between cohorts. To assess outcomes, approved and denied patients were matched (1:1) using propensity-matching to account for underlying differences.


Overall, 1,232 patients met inclusion criteria for the study. At baseline, approved patients were older than denied patients (mean age 53.9 vs. 48.4) and had higher rates of comorbidities. A greater proportion of approved patients required inpatient admissions (34.1 vs. 28.0%) and "high" doses of corticosteroids (CS) (26.2 vs. 20.7%) at baseline. Matched outcomes showed directionally more denied patients with inpatient admissions compared to approved (64 vs. 52) and a greater utilization of deep vein thrombosis ultrasound (12.2 vs. 6.6%) and dialysis (10.5 vs. 6.1%). Matched, denied patients had directionally greater CS use during follow-up both in the number of patients receiving CS (104 vs. 95) and the average annualized daily dose (4.1 vs. 3.4 mg).


Patients denied access to RCI treatment had directionally higher HCRU compared to matched, approved counterparts. Thus, the results of this study may aid providers and payers in evaluating scenarios where RCI may be beneficial and improve quality of care for NS patients.

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Rice JB, Panaccio MP, White A, Simes M, Billmyer E, Downes N, Niewoehner J, Wan GJ