Retrospective cohort study of tobacco dependence treatment patterns in a us commercially insured population

Elizabeth Anne MacLean, University of Rhode Island


This dissertation utilizes the manuscript format and has three main objectives: 1) To describe the pharmacoepidemiology of smoking cessation medications (SCM) among smokers identified through CPT and ICD-9 codes to answer the question, “Who among smokers receives pharmacologic treatment?” 2) To describe treatment persistence in tobacco dependent patients prescribed SCM, repeat treatment with SCM and patient and prescriber characteristics associated premature discontinuation and repeat therapy. 3) Evaluation of the use of SCM among tobacco dependent patients with smoking related cancer diagnoses to answer the question, “Who receives pharmacologic treatment and who doesn’t?” ^ The LifeLink™ Health Plan Claims Database was employed to identify patients diagnosed or counseled for tobacco cessation (index) during a one year period and evaluate the use of SCM in the 1 year following the index date, rates of premature discontinuation and repeat therapy as well as use of SCM in patients with smoking related cancers. Predictors of the use of SCM in tobacco dependent patients, premature discontinuation and repeat therapy were assessed using logistic regression models, controlling for pre-index patient and/or treatment characteristics. The same was performed to identify predictors of SCM use in tobacco dependent patients with smoking related cancer. ^ Major findings reported in the first manuscript are that approximately 11% of newly diagnosed tobacco dependent patients received treatment within a year of diagnosis and that the youngest and oldest age groups were less likely to receive SCM than those at middle age. Of note, patients who may have had tobacco related co-morbidities were less likely to receive treatment than those without. The study of persistence and repeat therapy revealed that mean persistence was 36 days and that >90% of patients discontinued SCM before 12 weeks of therapy, shorter than recommendations. Patients under 50 years old and 65 years or older were more likely to discontinue prematuredly than patients aged 50-58 years. Few patients (5%) repeated therapy ≥ 26 weeks following index. The final study of the use of SCM in tobacco dependent patients with smoking related cancer revealed that tobacco dependence of counseling/advice for smoking cessation in these patients was likely coincident or following diagnosis of comorbidity. This finding was also noted in the first study where pre-index mean Charlson Comorbidity was lower than the period following diagnosis. ^ The 3 studies presented provide insight into the utility of using administrative claims data to study patients who are tobacco dependent and their treatment with SCM. Taken in their entirety, these studies’ findings contribute certain apparent overarching themes and other important observations that may be useful to practicing clinicians to highlight potential opportunities for treatment with SCM in patients who may benefit most. First, it seems that the health system is identifying patients as tobacco dependent co-incident with identification of other co-morbidity. Earlier intervention of management of tobacco dependence is likely the best strategy to aid patients in quitting. Second, diagnosis or counseling by a hospital related practitioner was associated with reduced likelihood of SCM treatment as an outpatient overall and in patients with smoking related cancer. Hospitalization has been identified as an opportune time for clinicians to intervene and offer assistance with smoking cessation. Diagnosis by a therapeutic specialist was associated with lower likelihood of SCM use and tobacco dependence can be a major contributor to risk of events often managed by therapeutic area specialists, e.g., cardiologists and oncologists. Rates of treatment with SCM by physician type is not widely described but literature reports and clinical practice guidelines recommend that cardiologists and oncologists are well positioned to assist patients in their quit attempts to reduce overall health risks. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.)^

Subject Area

Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Elizabeth Anne MacLean, "Retrospective cohort study of tobacco dependence treatment patterns in a us commercially insured population" (2016). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10100987.