The 10-year cost-effectiveness analysis, a follow-up to the landmark National Institutes of Health-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), found that treatment with metformin or a lifestyle intervention reduced the costs of medical care by $1700 and $2600 per person, respectively, over 10 years compared to placebo. The cost reductions included lower costs for inpatient and outpatient care and prescriptions.
The study found that the lifestyle intervention cost more to administer than metformin or placebo. When the reductions in the costs of medical care were balanced against the costs of the interventions, metformin saved $30 while the lifestyle intervention cost $1500 per person over the entire 10 years. The lifestyle intervention, which aimed for a 7 percent loss in body weight and 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, cut the rates of progression to diabetes nearly twice as often as treatment with metformin. The lifestyle intervention also resulted in greater improvement in quality of life than either metformin or placebo. Pairing the costs of care with measures of health and quality of life, both interventions were found to be highly cost-effective.
The findings, reported by William H. Herman, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at theUniversityofMichiganand co-investigator of the DPP Research Group, are particularly significant because it is so rare for a health intervention to simultaneously improve health and save money.
Currently, there are 79 million people in the U.S. living with prediabetes and larger populations living outside U.S. who could greatly benefit from policies that help prevent diabetes among those at high risk. Translating these findings into practice will reduce the development of type 2 diabetes, which has become one of the most common and costly diseases in the U.S. and around the world. The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes.