12.8 percent of unique prescribers prescribed topical antifungals in 2021

In 2021, 12.8 percent of unique prescribers in Medicare Part D prescribed topical antifungals, with about 6.5 million topical antifungal prescriptions filled, at a total cost of $231 million, according to research published in the Jan. 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kaitlin Benedict, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used 2021 Medicare Part D data to examine prescription volumes, rates, and costs for topical antifungals. The volumes of total prescriptions were compared between higher-volume (top 10 percent of prescribers by volume) and lower-volume prescribers.

The researchers found that about 6.5 million topical antifungal prescriptions were filled during 2021 (134 prescriptions per 1,000 beneficiaries), at a total cost of $231 million. Overall, 12.8 percent of the 1,017,417 unique prescribers prescribed topical antifungals.

The highest percentage of prescriptions was written by primary care physicians (40.0 percent), followed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants, dermatologists, and podiatrists (21.4, 17.6, and 14.1 percent, respectively). Of all prescriptions, 44.2 percent (2.9 million) were written by higher-volume prescribers.

“The substantial volume of topical antifungal and antifungal-corticosteroid prescriptions among Medicare Part D beneficiaries in the setting of emerging resistant infections underscores the need to evaluate current practices of topical antifungal use,” the authors write.

More information:
Benedict K, et al, Topical Antifungal Prescribing for Medicare Part D Beneficiaries—United States, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2024) DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7301a1

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