There is a resurgence in the need to evaluate the economic burden of prescription drug hospitalizations in the United States. We used the Wisconsin 2014 Hospital Discharge data to examine opioid related hospitalization incidence and costs. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is frequently being used for as an intraoperative agent in anesthesia, and post-operative recovery in hospitals. According to a 2013 study, synthetic Fentanyl is 40 times more potent than heroin and other prescription opioids; the strength of Fentanyl leads to substantial hospitalizations risks. Since, 1990 it has been available with a prescription in various forms such as transdermal patches or lollipops for treatment of serious chronic pain, most often prescribed for late stage cancer patients. There have been reported fatal overdoses associated with misuse of prescription fentanyl. In Wisconsin number of total opioid related deaths increased by 51% from 2010 to 2014 with the number of deaths involving prescription opioids specifically increased by 23% and number of deaths involving heroin increased by 192%. We hypothesized that opioids prescription drugs, as a proxy of Fentanyl use, result in excessive health care costs.
In this paper we used hospital charges to assess costs incurred due to prescription drug/opioid hospitalizations