Results of a model analysis of the cost-effectiveness of liraglutide versus exenatide added to metformin, glimepiride, or both for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the United States

Clin Ther. 2010 Sep;32(10):1756-67. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2010.08.010.


Background: Nearly half of all US patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are unable to maintain adequate glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA₁(c)) control (ie, <7.0%).

Objective: The aim of this work was to determine the long-term cost-effectiveness of incretin-based therapy with once-daily liraglutide (vs twice-daily exenatide) combined with metformin, glimepiride, or both for the treatment of T2DM.

Methods: Patient data were obtained from the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes 6 (LEAD 6) trial. Baseline data included mean HbA₁(c) (8.15%), age (56.7 years), disease duration (8 years), sex, body mass index, blood pressure, lipid levels, cardiovascular and renal risk factors, and other complications. The IMS Center for Outcomes Research Diabetes Model was used to project and compare lifetime (ie, 35-year) clinical and economic outcomes for once-daily liraglutide 1.8 mg compared with twice-daily exenatide 10 (ig, each used as add-on therapy with maximum-dose metformin and/or glimepiride. Treatment-effect assumptions were also derived from the LEAD 6 trial. Transition probabilities, utilities, and complication costs were obtained from published sources. All outcomes were discounted at 3% per annum, and the analysis was conducted from the perspective of a third-party payer in the United States.

Results: The base-case analysis indicated that, compared with exenatide, liraglutide add-on therapy was associated with a mean (SD) increase in life expectancy of 0.187 (0.250) years and an increase in qualityadjusted life-years of 0.322 (0.164) years. Compared with exenatide, total lifetime treatment costs for liraglutide were $12,956 higher, yielding an incremental costeffectiveness ratio (ICER) of $40,282. However, the costs of diabetes-related complications were lower with liraglutide than with exenatide ($49,784 vs $52,429, respectively). Sensitivity analysis indicated that setting patient HbA(1c) levels at the 95% upper limit reduced the ICER for liraglutide compared with exenatide to $33,086.

Conclusion: In this model analysis using published clinical data and current medication acquisition price assumptions, liraglutide (in combination with metformin and/or glimepiride) appeared to be cost-effective in the US payer setting over a 35-year time horizon.

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Exenatide
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / economics
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / economics*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Liraglutide
  • Male
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Metformin / economics*
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Peptides / economics*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / economics*
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / therapeutic use
  • United States
  • Venoms / administration & dosage
  • Venoms / economics*
  • Venoms / therapeutic use


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • Venoms
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • glimepiride
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Metformin
  • Exenatide