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Spending on Glaucoma Meds Rising in U.S., Study Finds

MONDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Spending on medications for Americans with the eye disease glaucoma has increased overall and especially among certain groups of patients, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from 1,404 patients aged 18 and older who used glaucoma medication between 2001 and 2006. The average amount spent per patient for glaucoma medications increased from $445 in 2001 to $557 in 2006.

Among the groups most likely to be associated with significant increases in spending on glaucoma medications were women, people who had only public health insurance and those who hadn't completed high school. Spending on glaucoma medications was higher among patients with Medicare Part D coverage than among those with private insurance, said Dr. Byron L. Lam, of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, and colleagues.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. As the country's population ages and more people develop glaucoma, spending on drugs to treat the condition is likely to increase, the study authors explained in the report published in the June 13 online edition of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

"The results of our study as well as an understanding of the factors that account for the increase in glaucoma medication expenditure are important to help develop effective strategies and protocols for the medical management of glaucoma that optimize treatment and control expenditures," the authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about glaucoma.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 13, 2011

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