Study shows economic and health benefits of early intensified diabetes treatment

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A recent study conducted by the WifOR Institute has shed light on the significant benefits of early and intensified treatment strategies for Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) patients in Korea.

According to the study, which analyzed data over a ten-year period, patients who began combination therapy early in the course of their illness were 12% more likely to achieve and maintain good blood sugar control compared to those who started with just one medication (monotherapy).

The study, titled “Health and Productivity Benefits with Early Intensified Treatment in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Results from Korea,” was published in the May 2024 edition of INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing.

It reveals that early intensified antidiabetes treatment also led to a 14% decrease in events related to diabetes complications.

These health improvements translated into substantial economic benefits. Over the decade, early treatment strategies prevented approximately 1.56 million hours of lost work, comprising both paid and unpaid labor.

This prevention of lost work hours resulted in an economic gain of USD$23 million for Korea.

Dr. Malina Müller, head of health economics at WifOR Institute, emphasized the broader societal impact of these findings.

“Our Social Impact analysis provides concrete numbers showing that early intensified antidiabetes treatment not only enhances patient health but also boosts productivity and social participation, benefiting both patients and caregivers,” she stated.

The analysis was part of a broader effort to understand the economic burden of diabetes in Korea, where the disease is a major public health issue.

The study used a sophisticated simulation model drawing on data from the VERIFY clinical trial and real-world evidence to compare the outcomes of two treatment regimens.

One regimen was an early intensified treatment combining metformin with vildagliptin, while the other was a conventional stepwise approach starting with metformin alone.

The model projected a 10-year outlook with detailed 6-month cycles, estimating the likelihood of various complications such as stroke, heart attack, and neuropathy.

It also incorporated Korean employment data to evaluate the impact on productivity, including detailed sensitivity analyses to ensure the robustness of the findings.

The results highlight the importance of early intervention and personalized treatment plans in managing Type 2 diabetes effectively. This approach not only improves individual health outcomes but also reduces healthcare costs and enhances economic productivity.

Such studies are crucial for healthcare decision-makers, illustrating the need to balance immediate medical costs against long-term health benefits and economic gains.

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The research findings can be found in INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing.

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