Objectives: Hypoglycemia is a common side effect of antidiabetic therapy. In addition to reducing well-being, hypoglycemic events may lead to substantial costs of medical care and lost productivity. The cost of hypoglycemia is, however, not well identified, particularly in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to assess the cost of hypoglycemia in Type 2 diabetes in Sweden.
Methods: A cost-of-illness approach, based on an incidence methodology, was used to estimate the cost of hypoglycemia in patients with Type 2 diabetes. A hypoglycemic event was defined as an episode with symptoms of low blood glucose levels during which the patient required assistance from another person. The events were divided into mild, moderate, and severe, and the incidence and costs of the different events were estimated based on data in the literature.
Results: Assuming that there are 300,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes in Sweden, it was estimated that 26,942 hypoglycemic events would occur annually in these patients, corresponding to a rate of 0.09 events per patient-year. The total cost of hypoglycemia was, in base case, estimated at about Euro 4,250,000 (Euro 14 per patient with Type 2 diabetes) per year. Moderate hypoglycemia contributed the largest proportion of these costs.
Conclusions: The results indicate that hypoglycemic events lead to substantial costs, but data are scarce and more studies are needed to better understand the cost and consequences of hypoglycemia.