A small group of patients with type 2 diabetes was able to successfully reduce their routine medication costs after following a long-term lifestyle intervention that began with a 3-week residential program, according to the results of a study published in BMJ Open.
The intervention program combined high exercise volume (15 to 20 hours per week), a restrictive diet (reduction of 500 calories per day), and education.
“Combining high exercise volume, restrictive diet and education, effectively supported the health of type 2 diabetes,” Frédéric Dutheil, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand’s preventive and occupational medicine division in France, told Medical Economics. “The main factor explaining reduced medication costs was better glycemic control, independent of weight changes.”
According to Dutheil, type 2 diabetes imposes a substantial burden on the worldwide economy. This burden is related to the costs associated with the microvascular and macrovascular complications of poorly controlled diabetes, as well as indirect costs from work-related absenteeism, reduced productivity and a reduced labor force.
With this study, researchers hypothesized that lifestyle modifications would reduce the costs of routine medications for diabetes through improved glycemic control. The study included 26 participants with type 2 diabetes who completed a 3-week residential lifestyle intervention program in a controlled environment within a spa resort in France. Participants were then followed for one year and told to continue their lifestyle changes at home. Data were collected on the number of medications, number of pills, cost of medications and health-related outcomes.