Intensive treatment of type 2 diabetes reduces costs overall

May 18, 2000

Cost effectiveness of an intensive blood glucose control policy in patients with type 2 diabetes: economic analysis alongside randomised controlled trial (UK prospective diabetes study 41)

Conventional management of type 2 diabetes (the non insulin dependent type which develops mainly in people over 40) is through diet. A paper by Gray and colleagues in this week's BMJ shows that an alternative treatment using intensive blood glucose control in these patients significantly increases treatment costs but substantially reduces the cost of complications and gives increased time free of complications.

The study was based on a long term clinical trial involving 3,867 patients with type 2 diabetes in 23 clinics around the UK. Results showed that the intensive policy cost around an extra £140 per year per patient, but that about £100 of this would be saved because of fewer complications. The net cost of intensive blood glucose control for all type 2 diabetic patients in a typical general practice might be around £4000 to £9000 annually, says the paper. The authors say the cost-effectiveness of the policy - around £1200 for an additional year free of complications - compares favourably with many existing treatments, indicating strong economic as well as clinical grounds for its adoption.
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Contact:

Dr Alastair Gray, Director, Health Economics Research Centre, Dept Public Health, University of Oxford. Email: alastair.gray@ih.ox.ac.uk

BMJ

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