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Trends in costs and prescribing for liothyronine and levothyroxine in England and Wales 2011-2020

Stedman, Michael, Taylor, Peter ORCID:, Premawardhana, Lakdasa, Okosieme, Onyebuchi, Dayan, Colin ORCID: and Heald, Adrian H. 2021. Trends in costs and prescribing for liothyronine and levothyroxine in England and Wales 2011-2020. Clinical Endocrinology 94 (6) , pp. 980-989. 10.1111/cen.14414

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Introduction Recent prescribing policies in England and Wales have imposed significant restrictions on liothyronine prescribing in general practice driven by the prohibitive costs and uncertain benefits of liothyronine in the management of hypothyroidism. However, the impact of these policies on liothyronine usage and costs is still unclear. Methods Data were downloaded from the NHS monthly General Practice Prescribing Data in England and from the Comparative Analysis System for Prescribing Audit (CASPA) in Wales for 2011–2020. Trends over the period in amount and costs of levothyroxine and liothyronine prescribing were analysed. Results The total medication costs per year for England Wales for hypothyroidism rose from £60.8 million to £129.8 million in 2015–16 and have since reduced to £88.4 million. Levothyroxine prescriptions have been growing above the population growth rate at 0.7%/annum in England and 1.1% in Wales. The costs/patient/year for liothyronine rose from £550 to £3000 in 2015–16 and has since fallen to £2500. Use of liothyronine as a percentage of levothyroxine started to fall in 2015–16 at 7%/annum in England and 3% in Wales. Nevertheless, 0.5% of levothyroxine‐treated patients continue to receive liothyronine. All Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) in England continue to have at least one liothyronine prescribing practice and 48.5% of English general practices prescribed liothyronine in 2019–20. Conclusion In spite of strenuous attempts to limit prescribing of liothyronine in general practice, a significant number of patients continue to receive this therapy. The price differential of liothyronine vs levothyroxine should be examined again in light of the continuing use of liothyronine.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0300-0664
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 21 December 2020
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 00:47

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