Objective: Peripheral neuropathy is common among people with diabetes and can result in foot ulceration and amputation. The aim of this study was to quantify the annual medical costs of peripheral neuropathy and its complications among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the U.S.
Research design and methods: A cost-of-illness model was used to estimate the numbers of diabetic individuals in the U.S. who have diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and/or neuropathic foot ulcers (both those with no deep infection and those accompanied by cellulitis or osteomyelitis) at a given point in time, and/or a toe, foot, or leg amputation during a year. Prevalence and incidence rates were estimated from published studies and applied to the general U.S. population. All costs were estimated in 2001 U.S. dollars. In a sensitivity analysis, we varied the rates of complications to assess the robustness of the cost estimates.
Results: The annual costs of DPN and its complications in the U.S. were 0.8 billion US dollars (type 1 diabetes), 10.1 billion US dollars (type 2 diabetes), and 10.9 billion US dollars (total). After allowing for uncertainty in the point estimates of complication rates, the range of costs were between 0.3 and 1.0 billion US dollars (type 1 diabetes), 4.3b and 12.7 billion US dollars (type 2 diabetes), and 4.6 and 13.7 billion US dollars (type 1 and type 2 diabetes).
Conclusions: The total annual cost of DPN and its complications in the U.S. was estimated to be between 4.6 and 13.7 billion US dollars. Up to 27% of the direct medical cost of diabetes may be attributed to DPN.