The 10-year cost-effectiveness of lifestyle intervention or metformin for diabetes prevention: an intent-to-treat analysis of the DPP/DPPOS

Diabetes Care. 2012 Apr;35(4):723-30. doi: 10.2337/dc11-1468.


Objective: The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and its Outcomes Study (DPPOS) demonstrated that either intensive lifestyle intervention or metformin could prevent type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults for at least 10 years after randomization. We report the 10-year within-trial cost-effectiveness of the interventions.

Research design and methods: Data on resource utilization, cost, and quality of life were collected prospectively. Economic analyses were performed from health system and societal perspectives.

Results: Over 10 years, the cumulative, undiscounted per capita direct medical costs of the interventions, as implemented during the DPP, were greater for lifestyle ($4,601) than metformin ($2,300) or placebo ($769). The cumulative direct medical costs of care outside the DPP/DPPOS were least for lifestyle ($24,563 lifestyle vs. $25,616 metformin vs. $27,468 placebo). The cumulative, combined total direct medical costs were greatest for lifestyle and least for metformin ($29,164 lifestyle vs. $27,915 metformin vs. $28,236 placebo). The cumulative quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) accrued over 10 years were greater for lifestyle (6.81) than metformin (6.69) or placebo (6.67). When costs and outcomes were discounted at 3%, lifestyle cost $10,037 per QALY, and metformin had slightly lower costs and nearly the same QALYs as placebo.

Conclusions: Over 10 years, from a payer perspective, lifestyle was cost-effective and metformin was marginally cost-saving compared with placebo. Investment in lifestyle and metformin interventions for diabetes prevention in high-risk adults provides good value for the money spent.

Trial registration: NCT00004992 NCT00038727.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / economics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Intention to Treat Analysis*
  • Male
  • Metformin / economics
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prediabetic State / diagnosis
  • Prediabetic State / economics*
  • Prediabetic State / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / economics
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin

Associated data