Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: Cost Effective Pharmacologic Treatments

James P. Reichmann, MBA
American HomePatient, Brentwood, Tenn.
Michael S. Kirkbride, BSc, PharmD
American HomePatient, Brentwood, Tenn.

ABSTRACT: Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) can range from morning sickness to moderate NVP to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). If it is left unmanaged, health plans may pay for expensive unproven outpatient therapies that are not necessary for treatment of simple morning sickness or moderate NVP. Meanwhile, patients with serious hyperemesis gravidarum whose treatment is delayed may suffer needlessly, ending up with multiple hospitalizations or emergency room (ER) visits. Two expensive, heavily marketed outpatient therapies with scant supportive evidence in the treatment of NVP have recently emerged and some health plans are providing coverage without a thorough review of the medical evidence or cost implications. Health plans may have an opportunity to save a significant amount and to improve member satisfaction by utilizing evidence-based knowledge of pharmacologic interventions that are driven, in order, by known safety, proven efficacy, and cost effectiveness.

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