A review of the economic evidence for acarbose in the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular events in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance

Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Jul;60(7):847-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1368-5031.2006.00914.x.


The highly prevalent, prediabetic condition of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) confers a high risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). There is an emerging body of cost-effectiveness literature in the management of IGT. For acarbose, an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, economic analyses have been conducted for Spain, Germany, Sweden and Canada. In Spain, acarbose was more effective and less costly (dominant) compared with placebo. In Germany, the cost per patient free of diabetes was under Pounds 800; acarbose was dominant for those at high risk for T2DM, CVD or both, and a similar outcome in the Swedish study. In Canada, acarbose was dominant compared with no intervention and very cost-effective compared with metformin [C Dollars 1798/life years gained (LYG)]. The particularly cost-effective outcomes or cost savings delivered by acarbose for IGT subjects at high risk for T2DM and/or CVD render an IGT-intervention program prioritised to such high-risk individuals an economically attractive strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acarbose / economics
  • Acarbose / therapeutic use*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Drug Costs
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy*
  • Glucose Intolerance / economics
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / economics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Mass Screening
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Acarbose