Modeling the potential impact of abuse-deterrent opioids on medical resource utilization

Journal of Medical Economics, 2019


To extend a previously published manuscript on a model for estimating potential avoided medical events and cost savings in the US associated with the introduction of extended-release abuse-deterrent opioids and incorporate new methods of evaluating abuse deterrence using human abuse potential studies.


A model was developed to estimate reductions in abuse-related events and annual savings in the US. Model inputs included: opioid abuse prevalence, abuse-deterrent opioid cost and effectiveness at deterring abuse, and opioid abuse-related events and costs. Direct (medical and drug) and indirect (work loss) cost savings (2017 US$) and abuse-related events were estimated assuming the replacement of the entire extended-release opioid market (brand and generic) by brand abuse-deterrent opioids.


Replacing the extended-release opioid market with abuse-deterrent opioids is estimated to lower annual abuse-related medical events by ∼13-31% (e.g. 78,000-186,000 emergency department visits) and lower annual medical costs by ∼$640 M-$1,538 M, depending on the abuse-deterrent technology (physical/chemical barrier or agonist/antagonist). Replacement of extended-release oxycodone with extended-release abuse-deterrent oxycodone is associated with the largest amount of cost savings and highest number of avoided medical events, followed by replacing extended-release morphine with an extended-release abuse-deterrent opioid. Replacement of transdermal fentanyl is associated with the smallest amount of cost savings and lowest number of avoided medical events.


Agonist/antagonist abuse-deterrent opioid technology is associated with higher annual medical cost savings and more avoided events than physical/chemical barrier technology. Total net savings are dependent upon the abuse-deterrent opioid price relative to non-abuse-deterrent opioids.

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Yenikomshian MA, White AG, Carson ME, Jia ZB, Mendoza MR, Roland CL