News from the FDA/CDC

Top-selling drugs going to patients with diabetes


 

Americans spent more money on insulin glargine in 2015 than any other drug, and more than half of the 20 biggest-selling drugs for the year are regularly prescribed to patients with diabetes, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Spending on drugs used regularly by diabetes patients, 2015
The estimated total expenditure for insulin glargine was $11.1 billion in 2015 – an increase of 81% in just 2 years, data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) show. The cholesterol-lowering drug rosuvastatin was the second highest–selling drug in 2015 with total spending of $6.8 billion. Other drugs among the year’s 10 best sellers that are used regularly by patients with diabetes were atorvastatin (fourth overall at $6.3 billion), insulin aspart (seventh at $4.8 billion), sitagliptin (eighth at $4.6 billion), insulin isophane (ninth at $4.4 billion), and pregabalin (tenth at $4.2 billion).

Drugs used by patients with diabetes also took up half of the next 10 spots in the list: gabapentin was 11th, insulin detemir was 12th, metformin was 14th, insulin lispro was 16th, and metformin-sitagliptin was 20th, according to the MEPS data.

The drugs in the MEPS top 10 for 2015 – the most recent year for which data are available – that are not commonly prescribed for diabetes were the asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary drug fluticasone-salmeterol (third at $6.7 billion), the gastroesophageal reflux disease drug esomeprazole (fifth at $5.3 billion), and aripiprazole (sixth at $5.2 billion), which is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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