Lifestyle interventions for patients at risk of developing diabetes are costly, but good value for money in the long-term say the authors of a new cost-effectiveness analysis.
The ten-year study looked at lifestyle modifications and metformin use in 3,000 overweight patients with impaired glucose tolerance and fasting hyperglycaemia.
The study is a follow-up to a randomised trial published in 2002 that showed that intensive lifestyle intervention reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 58%, and metformin by 31%.
Researchers looked at the cost-effectiveness of these interventions 10 years post-randomisation, as determined by the cost of each quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained by participants in the study.
They found the overall cost of the lifestyle intervention was greater than metformin and placebo, but it produced better health outcomes.
The cost per QALY for lifestyle interventions versus placebo was $10,000, compared with a cost per QALY for lifestyle versus metformin of $13,400.
Study lead Dr William Herman, professor of diabetes at the University of Michigan, said: ‘Health and social policies should support the funding of intensive lifestyle and metformin interventions for diabetes prevention in high-risk adults. When a new treatment is more effective and less costly than usual care, it should be widely adopted and used.'
Diabetes Care 2012 35:723-730