Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diabetes Treatment Becomes More Complex, Costly

Date:
November 3, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Because of the increased number of patients, growing reliance on multiple medications and the shift toward more expensive new medicines, the annual cost of diabetes drugs nearly doubled in only six years, rising from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007. The single greatest contributor was the use of newer, more expensive medications.

A progressively more complex and expensive array of treatments for type 2 diabetes is being prescribed to an increasing number of adults, according to a new report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Because of the increased number of patients, growing reliance on multiple medications and the shift toward more expensive new medicines, the annual cost of diabetes drugs nearly doubled in only six years, rising from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007. The single greatest contributor was the use of newer, more expensive medications.

In 2000, more than 11 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes, according to background information in the article. "By 2050, the number of Americans with diabetes is expected to soar to 29 million, a prevalence of 7 percent," the authors write. "The annual economic burden of diabetes is estimated at $132 billion and increasing. In 2002, more than one-tenth of U.S. health care expenditures were attributable to diabetes." As costs and prevalence increase, managing diabetes also has become increasingly complex, as physicians prescribe more medications to each patient and combine drugs from different therapeutic classes.

To evaluate these trends, G. Caleb Alexander, M.D., M.S., of the University of Chicago Hospitals, and colleagues gathered diabetes prescription information and costs from national databases. The researchers analyzed prescription data from U.S. patients age 35 and older with type 2 diabetes who visited a physician's office between 1994 and 2007. Information about medication costs was available from 2001 to 2007.

The analysis revealed that, between 1994 and 2007:

  • The estimated number of yearly patient visits to treat diabetes increased from 25 million to 36 million
  • The average number of medications prescribed per treated patient increased from 1.14 to 1.63
  • Among visits in which any treatment was given, the number in which only one drug was prescribed decreased from 82 percent to 47 percent
  • Insulin use decreased from 38 percent in 1994 to a low of 25 percent in 2000, and then increased again to 28 percent

The types of medications prescribed shifted—the use of sulfonylurea drugs decreased from 67 percent to 34 percent of treatment visits, while use of newer drugs such as biguanides and glitazones increased, so that by 2007 these agents were prescribed at 54 percent and 28 percent of treatment visits, respectively

The increasing use of glitazones—along with other new treatments, including new forms of insulin and other new classes of drugs—accounted for increases in average cost per prescription (from $56 in 2001 to $76 in 2007) and in overall medication expenditures for those with diabetes (from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007).

"We document large shifts in patterns of diabetes treatment and pharmaceutical expenditures across treatment classes," the authors conclude. "Whether increased treatment costs are balanced by improved outcomes associated with these changes cannot be evaluated in the absence of data comparing effectiveness and cost-effectiveness across treatment classes. Our findings suggest the importance of generating new comparative data and coupling this information with clinical and formulary guidelines that contribute to constraining costs, maximizing glycemic control and minimizing diabetes-related morbidity and mortality."

Dr. Alexander is a Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Scholar and is also supported by a career development award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Senior author Dr. Stafford was supported by a Mid-Career Mentoring Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Caleb Alexander; Niraj L. Sehgal; Rachael M. Moloney; Randall S. Stafford. National Trends in Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, 1994-2007. Arch Intern Med., 2008;168(19):2088-2094 [link]

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Diabetes Treatment Becomes More Complex, Costly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027174549.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, November 3). Diabetes Treatment Becomes More Complex, Costly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027174549.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Diabetes Treatment Becomes More Complex, Costly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081027174549.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins