Lifestyle intervention programs can save patients money

Intensive lifestyle intervention programs can save type 2 diabetes patients more than $140 a month in pharmacy costs, according to data presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress Meeting in Philadelphia.

Endocrine Today reports that the study followed 36 patients, 27 of whom had type 2 diabetes. All were enrolled in a 16-week lifestyle intervention program called the Wellness Life Program.

In general, the main two goals of lifestyle intervention programs are weight loss and physical activity.

Before starting the program, 22 percent of patients were on one medication, 45 percent were on on two medications and 33 percent were on at least three medications.

After the 16-week program, patients decreased their insulin doses by 46 percent and reduced their oral medication by 16 percent overall.

Patients reduced their body mass index to 37.23 from 40.3. They also saw a 0.7 percent reduction in HbA1c, a lab test that shows the average amount of glucose in the blood over a three-month period.

A 30-day supply of diabetes medication was $269.62 after the intervention. The average savings was $142.92 per patient, per month, according to Endrocrine Today.

John G. Evans, MD led the team of researchers in the endocrinology group-based study in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We were very excited by that clinical improvement and their overall glycemic profile,” said Evans in Endocrine Today.

“These results illustrate the positive impact a lifestyle intervention can have on medication expenditures in obese, overweight patients with diabetes. Future projects will include targeting a larger population to establish cost savings as well as enhanced care with our intervention. Employing these programs within an endocrinology practice achieves improved patient care, safe medication adjustments and reduced medication expenditures,” said Evans.

The high cost of diabetes

People diagnosed with diabetes have medical costs that are about 2.3 higher than people without diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The national cost of diabetes in the Us in 2007 exceeded $174 billion, according to the American Diabetes Association. This includes $116 billion in excess medical expenditures attributed to diabetes and an additional $58 billion in reduced national productivity due to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and lost productive capacity due to early mortality.

The mean cost for hospitalization for patients with diabetes in 2008 was $10,937 compared with $8,746 for patients without diabetes, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Almost one-in-four hospital dollars go to treat people with diabetes.

Source: Endocrine Today, American Diabetes Association

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