FARMINGTON, Conn., April 6 (UPI) -- Use of a drug to teat alcohol abuse involved higher initial costs but resulted in healthcare cost savings in the long run, a U.S. doctor says.
Dr. Henry Kranzler of the University of Connecticut Health Center Kranzler and colleagues found oral naltrexone raised initial costs but over the long term helped reduce all healthcare costs in the alcohol-use disorders patients who had taken it.
"This study suggests that an alcoholism treatment medication can help to contain healthcare costs and that wider consideration of the economic value of such approaches is warranted," Kranzler said in a statement.
Kranzler and colleagues tracked healthcare costs for 1,138 patients with an alcohol-related diagnosis prescribed naltrexone and a control group matched to 3,411 alcohol patients not receiving the drug, as well as a control group consisting 3,410 patients with no alcohol-related diagnosis.
"I think that the greatest applications of these results are for healthcare policy makers, treatment-program managers, insurance companies and health benefits managers," Kranzler said.
The findings are published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.