Walid F Gellad

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (72)582.83 Total impact

  • Sheriza N. Baksh · Walid F. Gellad · G. Caleb Alexander
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    ABSTRACT: In August 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the controversial decision to approve flibanserin (Addyi®) for women experiencing hypoactive sexual desire disorder. A number of factors contributed to disagreements regarding the FDA’s decision, including the product’s two prior failed FDA reviews, the unmet need of women with this disorder, extensive advocacy and politicization surrounding the product’s relevance to women and sexual health, the potential for widespread off-label use, and the product’s tenuous risk/benefit profile. Despite that, attention now shifts to maximizing the safe use of the product, including the optimal means to avoid numerous drug–drug interactions as well as the concomitant use of alcohol, both of which potentiate the risks of dizziness, hypotension, and syncope. Although the FDA has implemented a comprehensive Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies program to maximize the product’s safe use, patients, clinicians, and regulators must exhibit heightened vigilance early in the product’s post-market life.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Drug Safety
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Use of buprenorphine – an effective treatment for opioid use disorders (OUDs) – has increased rapidly in recent years and is often financed by Medicaid. We investigated predictors of buprenorphine treatment, patterns of care, and quality of care in a large state Medicaid program. Methods: Data from Pennsylvania Medicaid from 2007 to 2012 provided information regarding diagnoses, demographic characteristics, enrollment, and use of inpatient and outpatient services, and prescription drugs. We identified adult enrollees using buprenorphine, and examined prevalence of OUD diagnosis and patterns of use (duration and dose) and quality of care (physician visits, receipt of behavioral health counseling, urine drug screens, and other prescription drug use). We use a mixed logistic regression model to examine enrollee characteristics associated with buprenorphine use. Results: The share of enrollees with OUD filling prescriptions for buprenorphine increased from 2985 (9.8%) to 12,691 (25.2%) from 2007 to 2012. Between 26.2 and 32.0% of enrollees using buprenorphine had no diagnosis of OUD, depending on the year. Only 60.1% of enrollees with buprenorphine use received at least one urine drug screen, 41.0% had behavioral health counseling services, and 34.7 and 38.0% had other opioid and benzodiazepine claims, respectively, concomitant with buprenorphine use. Quality of care was lower among those with no OUD diagnosis recorded. The mean daily doses of buprenorphine decreased over time. We found wide variation in likelihood of buprenorphine use among those with OUD based upon age, sex, and race. Conclusions: Increases in buprenorphine treatment in a Medicaid population were observed across time; however, increases varied by age, sex, and rate, and the quality of care received seemed to be generally poor. The quality of the provision of buprenorphine treatment occurring in Medicaid populations should be further explored.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Addiction Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background and aims: Uncertainty about optimal treatment duration for buprenorphine opioid agonist therapy may lead to substantial variation in provider and payer decision-making regarding treatment course. We aimed to identify distinct trajectories of buprenorphine use and examine outcomes associated with these trajectories to guide health system interventions regarding treatment length. Design: Retrospective cohort study SETTING: US Pennsylvania Medicaid PATIENTS: 10,945 enrollees aged 18-64 initiating buprenorphine treatment between 2007 and 2012 MEASUREMENTS: Group-based trajectory models were used to identify trajectories based on monthly proportion of days covered with buprenorphine in the 12 months post-treatment initiation. We used separate multivariable Cox proportional hazard models to examine associations between trajectories and time to first all-cause hospitalization, and emergency department (ED) visit within 12 months after the first-year treatment. Findings: Six trajectories (BIC = -86246.70) were identified: 24.9% discontinued buprenorphine <3 months, 18.7% discontinued between 3 and 5 months, 12.4% discontinued between 5 and 8 months, 13.3% discontinued >8 months, 9.5% refilled intermittently, and 21.2% refilled persistently for 12 months. Persistent refill trajectories were associated with an 18% lower risk of all-cause hospitalizations [hazard ratio (HR) =0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.70-0.95] and 14% lower risk of ED visits [HR = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.78-0.95] in the subsequent year, compared with those discontinuing between 3 and 5 months. Conclusions: Six distinct buprenorphine treatment trajectories were identified in this population-based low-income Medicaid cohort in Pennsylvania, USA. There appears to be an association between persistent use of buprenorphine for 12 months and lower risk of all-cause hospitalizations/ED visits. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Addiction
  • Chester B Good · Walid F Gellad

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · JAMA Internal Medicine

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2015
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    Timothy S Anderson · Chester B Good · Walid F Gellad
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To identify the prevalence, characteristics, and compensation of members of the boards of directors of healthcare industry companies who hold academic appointments as leaders, professors, or trustees. Design Cross sectional study. Setting US healthcare companies publicly traded on the NASDAQ or New York Stock Exchange in 2013. Participants 3434 directors of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical equipment and supply, and healthcare provider companies. Main outcome measures Prevalence, annual compensation, and beneficial stock ownership of directors with affiliations as leaders, professors, or trustees of academic medical and research institutions. Results 446 healthcare companies met the study search criteria, of which 442 (99%) had publicly accessible disclosures on boards of directors. 180 companies (41%) had one or more academically affiliated directors. Directors were affiliated with 85 geographically diverse non-profit academic institutions, including 19 of the top 20 National Institute of Health funded medical schools and all of the 17 US News honor roll hospitals. Overall, these 279 academically affiliated directors included 73 leaders, 121 professors, and 85 trustees. Leaders included 17 chief executive officers and 11 vice presidents or executive officers of health systems and hospitals; 15 university presidents, provosts, and chancellors; and eight medical school deans or presidents. The total annual compensation to academically affiliated directors for their services to companies was $54 995 786 (£35 836 000; €49 185 900) (median individual compensation $193 000) and directors beneficially owned 59 831 477 shares of company stock (median 50 699 shares). Conclusions A substantial number and diversity of academic leaders, professors, and trustees hold directorships at US healthcare companies, with compensation often approaching or surpassing common academic clinical salaries. Dual obligations to for profit company shareholders and non-profit clinical and educational institutions pose considerable personal, financial, and institutional conflicts of interest beyond that of simple consulting relationships. These conflicts have not been fully addressed by professional societies or academic institutions and deserve additional review, regulation, and, in some cases, prohibition when conflicts cannot be reconciled.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · BMJ (online)
  • Philip Rocco · Walid F Gellad · Julie M Donohue

    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Walid F Gellad

    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of General Internal Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: To describe variations in potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) and characterize the extent to which switching to an incidence-based indicator would affect health system quality rankings. Observational study. Veterans Health Administration in 2011. Older adults receiving outpatient primary care. PIP was defined according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance High-Risk Medications in the Elderly list. Ranks were separately assigned for prevalent and incident PIP at the regional, network, and healthcare system levels. National PIP prevalence was 12.3% (167,766/1,360,251), and incidence was 5.8% (78,604/1,360,251). PIP prevalence ranged from 3.5% to 33.1% across healthcare systems (interquartile range (IQR) = 9.2-15.5%). PIP incidence ranged from 1.2% to 14.9% (IQR = 4.1-7.2%). Rank order in PIP prevalence and incidence was correlated (Spearman correlation; ρ = 0.934, P < .001), although substantial changes in ranks were seen for some healthcare systems, with seven of 139 (5.0%) systems shifting more than 30 rank positions and 21 (15.1%) systems shifting 16 to 30 positions. Prevalence- and incidence-based indicators of prescribing quality were strongly correlated. Transitioning to incidence-based indicators would not produce an initial disruption in quality rankings for most healthcare systems and might yield more-salient measures for tracking healthcare quality. © 2015, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2015, The American Geriatrics Society.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
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    ABSTRACT: Quality improvement efforts are frequently tied to patients achieving ≥80% medication adherence. However, there is little empirical evidence that this threshold optimally predicts important health outcomes. To apply machine learning to examine how adherence to oral hypoglycemic medications is associated with avoidance of hospitalizations, and to identify adherence thresholds for optimal discrimination of hospitalization risk. A retrospective cohort study of 33,130 non-dual-eligible Medicaid enrollees with type 2 diabetes. We randomly selected 90% of the cohort (training sample) to develop the prediction algorithm and used the remaining (testing sample) for validation. We applied random survival forests to identify predictors for hospitalization and fit survival trees to empirically derive adherence thresholds that best discriminate hospitalization risk, using the proportion of days covered (PDC). Time to first all-cause and diabetes-related hospitalization. The training and testing samples had similar characteristics (mean age, 48 y; 67% female; mean PDC=0.65). We identified 8 important predictors of all-cause hospitalizations (rank in order): prior hospitalizations/emergency department visit, number of prescriptions, diabetes complications, insulin use, PDC, number of prescribers, Elixhauser index, and eligibility category. The adherence thresholds most discriminating for risk of all-cause hospitalization varied from 46% to 94% according to patient health and medication complexity. PDC was not predictive of hospitalizations in the healthiest or most complex patient subgroups. Adherence thresholds most discriminating of hospitalization risk were not uniformly 80%. Machine-learning approaches may be valuable to identify appropriate patient-specific adherence thresholds for measuring quality of care and targeting nonadherent patients for intervention.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Medical care
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    ABSTRACT: Long-acting insulin analogues (eg, insulin glargine and insulin detemir) are an alternative to neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin for maintaining glycemic control in patients with diabetes. Clinical trials comparing analogue insulin and NPH have neither been adequately powered nor had sufficient follow-up to examine long-term health outcomes. To compare the effects of NPH and long-acting insulin analogues on long-term outcomes. This retrospective observational study relied on administrative data from the Veterans Health Administration and Medicare from 2000 to 2010. Local variations in analogue insulin prescribing rates were used in instrumental variable models to control for confounding. Outcomes were assessed using survival models. The study population included US veterans dually enrolled in Medicare who received at least 1 prescription for oral diabetes medication and then initiated long-acting insulin between 2001 and 2009. Outcomes included ambulatory care-sensitive condition (ACSC) hospitalizations and mortality. There was no significant relationship between type of insulin and ACSC hospitalization or mortality. The hazard ratio for mortality of individuals starting a long-acting analogue insulin was 0.97 (95% CI, 0.85-1.11), and was 1.05 (95% CI, 0.95-1.16) for ACSC hospitalization. Differences in risk remained insignificant when predicting diabetes-specific ACSC hospitalizations, but starting on long-acting analogue insulin significantly increased the risk of a cardiovascular-specific ACSC hospitalization. We found no consistent difference in long-term health outcomes when comparing use of long-acting insulin analogues and NPH insulin. The higher cost of analogue insulin without demonstrable clinical benefit raises questions of its cost-effectiveness in the treatment of patients with diabetes.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · The American journal of managed care
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the health status of the 7.3 million Americans who enrolled in insurance plans through the Marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Medication use may provide an early indicator of the health needs and access to care among Marketplace enrollees. We used data from January-September 2014 on more than one million Marketplace enrollees from Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit management company in the United States. We compared the characteristics and medication use between early and late Marketplace enrollees and between all Marketplace enrollees and enrollees with employer-sponsored insurance. Among Marketplace enrollees, we found that those who enrolled earlier (October 2013-February 2014) were older and used more medication than later enrollees. Marketplace enrollees, as a whole, had lower average drug spending and were less likely to use most medication classes than the employer-sponsored comparison group. However, Marketplace enrollees were more likely to use medicines for hepatitis C and particularly for HIV. Project HOPE—The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Health Affairs

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Value in Health
  • Y. Tang · C.H. Chang · H. Huskamp · W.F. Gellad · J.M. Donohue

    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Value in Health

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Value in Health
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Health insurance claims data may play an important role for health care systems and payers in monitoring the nonmedical use of prescription opioids (NMPO) among patients. However, these systems require valid methods for identifying NMPO if they are to target individuals for intervention. Limited efforts have been made to define NMPO using administrative data available to health systems and payers. We conducted a systematic review of publications that defined and measured NMPO within health insurance claims databases in order to describe definitions of NMPO and identify areas for improvement. Methods: We searched 8 electronic databases for articles that included terms related to NMPO and health insurance claims. A total of 2613 articles were identified in our search. Titles, abstracts, and article full texts were assessed according to predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Following article selection, we extracted general information, conceptual and operational definitions of NMPO, methods used to validate operational definitions of NMPO, and rates of NMPO. Results: A total of 7 studies met all inclusion criteria. A range of conceptual NMPO definitions emerged, from concrete concepts of abuse to qualified definitions of probable misuse. Operational definitions also varied, ranging from variables that rely on diagnostic codes to those that rely on opioid dosage and/or filling patterns. Quantitative validation of NMPO definitions was reported in 3 studies (e.g., receiver operating curves or logistic regression), with each study indicating adequate validity. Three studies reported qualitative validation, using face and content validity. One study reported no validation efforts. Rates of NMPO among the studies' populations ranged from 0.75% to 10.32%. Conclusions: Disparate definitions of NMPO emerged from the literature, with little uniformity in conceptualization and operationalization. Validation approaches were also limited, and rates of NMPO varied across studies. Future research should prospectively test and validate a construct of NMPO to disseminate to payers and health officials.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Substance Abuse
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    ABSTRACT: Effective medications are a cornerstone of prevention and disease treatment, yet only about half of patients take their medications as prescribed, resulting in a common and costly public health challenge for the US health care system. Since poor medication adherence is a complex problem with many contributing causes, there is no one universal solution. This paper describes interventions that were not only effective in improving medication adherence among patients with diabetes, but were also potentially scalable (ie, easy to implement to a large population). We identify key characteristics that make these interventions effective and scalable. This information is intended to inform health care systems seeking proven, low resource, cost-effective solutions to improve medication adherence.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Patient Preference and Adherence
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    ABSTRACT: Older adults with diabetes and dementia are at increased risk for hypoglycemia and other adverse events associated with tight glycemic control and are unlikely to experience long-term benefits. We examined risk factors for tight glycemic control in this population and use of medications associated with a high risk of hypoglycemia in the subset with tight control. This retrospective cohort study of national Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative/clinical data and Medicare claims for fiscal years (FYs) 2008-2009 included 15,880 veterans aged ≥65 with type 2 diabetes and dementia and prescribed antidiabetic medication. Multivariable regression analyses were used to identify sociodemographic and clinical predictors of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) control (tight, moderate, poor, or not monitored) and in patients with tight control, subsequent use of medication associated with a high risk of hypoglycemia (sulfonylureas, insulin). Fifty-two percent of patients had tight glycemic control (HbA1c <7% [53 mmol/mol]). Specific comorbidities, older age, and recent weight loss were associated with greater odds of tight versus moderate control, whereas Hispanic ethnicity and obesity were associated with lower odds of tight control. Among tightly controlled patients, 75% used sulfonylureas and/or insulin, with higher odds in patients who were male, black, or aged ≥75; had a hospital or nursing home stay in FY2008; or had congestive heart failure, renal failure, or peripheral vascular disease. Many older veterans with diabetes and dementia are at high risk for hypoglycemia associated with intense diabetes treatment and may be candidates for deintensification or alteration of diabetes medications. © 2015 by the American Diabetes Association. Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Diabetes Care

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Drug and Alcohol Dependence
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    ABSTRACT: When incretin mimetic (IM) medications were introduced in 2005, their effectiveness compared with other less-expensive second-line diabetes therapies was unknown, especially for older adults. Physicians likely had some uncertainty about the role of IMs in the diabetes treatment armamentarium. Regional variation in uptake of IMs may be a marker of such uncertainty. To investigate the extent of regional variation in the use of IMs among beneficiaries and estimate the cost implications for Medicare. This was a cross-sectional analysis of 2009-2010 claims data from a nationally representative sample of 238 499 Medicare Part D beneficiaries aged ≥65 years, who were continuously enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare and Part D and filled ≥1 antidiabetic prescription. Beneficiaries were assigned to 1 of 306 hospital-referral regions (HRRs) using ZIP codes. The main outcome was adjusted proportion of antidiabetic users in an HRR receiving an IM. Overall, 29 933 beneficiaries (12.6%) filled an IM prescription, including 26 939 (11.3%) for sitagliptin or saxagliptin and 3718 (1.6%) for exenatide or liraglutide. The adjusted proportion of beneficiaries using IMs varied more than 3-fold across HRRs, from 5th and 95th percentiles of 5.2% to 17.0%. Compared with non-IM users, IM users faced a 155% higher annual Part D plan ($1067 vs $418) and 144% higher patient ($369 vs $151) costs for antidiabetic prescriptions. Among older Part D beneficiaries using antidiabetic drugs, substantial regional variation exists in the use of IMs, not accounted for by sociodemographics and health status. IM use was associated with substantially greater costs for Part D plans and beneficiaries. © The Author(s) 2014.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Annals of Pharmacotherapy

Publication Stats

641 Citations
582.83 Total Impact Points


  • 2008-2015
    • University of Pittsburgh
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Division of General Internal Medicine
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2013-2014
    • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
      Бедфорд, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009-2012
    • RAND Corporation
      Santa Monica, California, United States
    • Brooks Rand
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2006-2008
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • • Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care
      • • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2007
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States