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ADA: Diabetes Prevention Strategies Are Cost-Effective

Lifestyle intervention and metformin treatment are cost-effective and improve quality of life

TUESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle intervention and metformin treatment for individuals at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes may improve quality of life and be cost-effective, according to a study presented at the American Diabetes Association's 71st Scientific Sessions, held from June 24 to 28 in San Diego.

William H. Herman, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed the cost-effectiveness of metformin treatment or lifestyle intervention in overweight and obese individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, for preventing or delaying the development of type 2 diabetes. Individuals were randomly assigned to lifestyle intervention which included weight loss and moderate physical activity, metformin treatment, or placebo groups.

The investigators found that, over 10 years, there was a reduction in the costs of medical care by $1,700 and $2,600 per person for treatment with metformin and lifestyle intervention, respectively, compared to placebo. After comparing the costs of medical care against the costs of the interventions, metformin saved $30, but lifestyle intervention cost $1,500 per person. However, lifestyle intervention was nearly twice as effective at reducing the rates of progression to diabetes as treatment with metformin, and it resulted in more improvement in quality of life than either metformin or placebo. Both interventions were found to be highly cost-effective, when the costs of care were combined with measures of health and quality of life.

"This puts diabetes prevention in the category of prenatal care or pediatric immunizations," Herman said in a statement. "It's dramatic when an intervention can improve the health of the population and potentially save money at the same time."

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