Objectives: To assess the costs of severe hypoglycaemic events (SHEs) in diabetes patients in Germany, Spain and the UK.
Methods: Healthcare resource use was measured by surveying 639 patients aged ≥ 16 years, receiving insulin for type 1 (n=319) or type 2 diabetes (n=320), who experienced ≥ 1 SHE in the preceding year. Patients were grouped by location of SHE treatment: group 1, community (family/domestic); group 2, community (healthcare professional); group 3, hospital. Costs were calculated from published unit costs applied to estimated resource use. Costs per SHE were derived from patient numbers per subgroup. Weighted average costs were derived using a prevalence database.
Results: Hospital treatment was a major cost in all countries. In Germany and Spain, costs per SHE for type 1 patients differed from those for type 2 patients in each group. Average SHE treatment costs were higher for patients with type 2 diabetes (Germany, €533; Spain, €691; UK, €537) than type 1 diabetes patients (€441, €577 and €236, respectively). Telephone calls, visits to doctors, blood glucose monitoring and patient education contributed substantially to costs for non-hospitalised patients.
Conclusions: Treatment of SHEs adds significantly to healthcare costs. Average costs were lower for type 1 than for insulin-treated type 2 diabetes, in all three countries.