Background. This real-world study aimed to provide insights on the characteristics, drug utilization, and economic burden of chronic kidney disease non-dialysis-dependent (NDD-CKD) patients with anemia prescribed Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESA) in Italian clinical practice settings.
Methods. A retrospective analysis was performed based on administrative and laboratory databases covering around 1.5 million subjects across Italy. Adult patients with a record for NDD-CKD stage 3a-5 and anemia during 2014-2016 were identified. Eligibility to ESA was defined as the presence of ≥ 2 records of Hb < 11 g/dL over 6 months, and patients eligible and currently treated with ESA were included. Results. Overall, 101,143 NDD-CKD patients were screened for inclusion, of which 40,020 were anemic. A total of 25,360 anemic patients were eligible to ESA treatment and 3,238 (12.8%) were prescribed ESA and included. The mean age was 76.9 years and 51.1% was male. More frequently observed comorbidities were hypertension (over 90% in each stage), followed by diabetes (37.8-43.2%) and cardiovascular condition (20.5-28.9%). Adherence to ESA was observed in 47.9% of patients, with a downward trend while progressing across stages (from 65.8% stage 3a to 35% stage 5). A consistent proportion of patients did not have nephrology visits during the 2 years of follow-up. Costs were mainly due to all drugs (€4,391) followed by all-cause hospitalization (€3,591) and laboratory tests (€1,460).
Conclusions. Findings from the study highlight an under-use of ESA in the management of anemia in NDD-CKD as well as a sub-optimal adherence to ESA and showed a great economic burden for anemic NDD-CKD patients.
Keywords: anemia, administrative databases, Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESA), chronic kidney disease (CKD), nephrology, real life