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Coverage and Coding - New Oral Antiemetic Drug Akynzeo®  – Revised

Joint DME MAC Publication

This is a revision to previous version (with the same title), published 5/28/2015 and adds the new HCPCS code for Akynzeo®.

The U.S. FDA approved Akynzeo® on 10/10/2014. Akynzeo® is a combination medication used to treat nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy.

Akynzeo® is a fixed combination capsule comprised of two drugs, oral palonosetron (a 5HT3 antagonist) and netupitant (a NK-1 antagonist). The DME MACs have evaluated Akynzeo® and determined that it is eligible for inclusion in the DME MAC oral antiemetic drugs (replacement for intravenous antiemetics) LCD, effective for claims with dates of service on or after 10/10/2014.

The use of the oral anti-emetic three-drug combination of an FDA-approved oral NK-1 antagonist and an oral 5HT3 antagonist, in combination with dexamethasone, is covered if, in addition to meeting the statutory coverage criteria specified in the related Policy Article, they are administered to beneficiaries who are receiving one or more of the anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agents listed in the LCD regarding oral anti-emetic coverage.

For dates of service prior to 7/1/2015, claims for Akynzeo® must be billed using HCPCS code:

  • Q0181 – Unspecified oral dosage form, FDA-approved prescription anti-emetic, for use as a complete therapeutic substitute for an IV anti-emetic at the time of chemotherapy treatment, not to exceed a 48-hour dosage regimen

For dates of service on or after to 7/1/2015 through 12/31/2015, claims for Akynzeo® must be billed using HCPCS code:

  • Q9978 – Netupitant palonosetron oral netupitant 300 mg and palonosetron 0.5 mg, oral

For dates of service on or after 1/1/2016, claims for Akynzeo® must be billed using HCPCS code:

  • J8655 – Netupitant 300 MG and palonosetron 0.5 mg

Akynzeo® (Q0181 or Q9978 or J8655) must be billed on the same claim with dexamethasone (J8540) to qualify for consideration of coverage. There must be no unbundling of the netupitant and palonosetron combination in Akynzeo®.

If Akynzeo® (Q0181 or Q9978 or J8655) and dexamethasone (J8540) are used in conjunction with one of the anticancer chemotherapeutic agents listed in the Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity section of the LCD regarding oral antiemetics, a KX modifier must be added to each code. In addition to the diagnosis code corresponding to the beneficiary’s cancer diagnosis, claims for these drugs must also be accompanied with a diagnosis code of an encounter for antineoplastic chemotherapy.

Any claims for code Q0181 must be accompanied by the name of the drug, the manufacturer, the dosage strength dispensed, the number of capsules and frequency of administration during the covered time period (24–48 hours) as specified on the order. (Note the time span of coverage remains as stated in the LCD). This information should be entered in the narrative field of an electronic claim.

If Akynzeo® (Q0181 or Q9978 or J8655) and dexamethasone (J8540) are not used in conjunction with one of the anticancer chemotherapeutic agents listed in the Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity section of this policy, the GA or GZ modifier must be added to the claim lines for Q0181 and J8540. When there is an expectation of a denial as not reasonable and necessary, suppliers must enter the GA modifier on the claim line if they have obtained a properly executed ABN or the GZ modifier if they have not obtained a valid ABN.

Claim lines billed without a KX, GA or GZ modifier will be rejected as missing information.

Please refer to the DME oral antiemetic drugs (replacement for intravenous antiemetics) LCD and related policy article for further information on coverage, documentation and coding.

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Revised on 12/17/2015
Revised on 5/28/2015

Coverage and Coding - New Oral Antiemetic Drug Akynzeo - Revised
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