Economic impact of severe and non-severe hypoglycemia in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the United States

J Med Econ. 2015 Jun;18(6):420-32. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2015.1006730. Epub 2015 Feb 11.


Objective: To identify the direct and indirect costs of hypoglycemia in patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in the US setting.

Methods: A literature review was conducted to identify and review studies that reported data on the economic burden of hypoglycemia and the related medical resource consumption or productivity loss related to hypoglycemia in patients with Type 1 or Type 2 DM. Relevant information was collated in an economic model to assess the direct and indirect costs following severe and non-severe hypoglycemic events in Type 1 and Type 2 DM.

Results: Detailed evidence of the medical cost burden of hypoglycemic events was identified from 14 studies. For both Type 1 and Type 2 DM, episodes requiring assistance from a healthcare practitioner were identified as particularly costly and amounted to $1161 per episode (direct costs) compared with episode costs of $66 and $11 for events requiring third-party (non-medical) assistance and events managed by self-treatment, respectively. Indirect costs associated with severe hypoglycemia requiring non-medical assistance, severe hypoglycemia requiring medical assistance, and non-severe hypoglycemia were predicted to be $242, $160, and $11 for patients with Type 1 diabetes and $579, $176, and $11 for patients with Type 2 diabetes, respectively.

Conclusion: Both severe and non-severe hypoglycemia incur substantial healthcare costs. Failure to account for these costs may under-estimate the value of management strategies that minimize hypoglycemia risk.

Keywords: Episode costs; Health-economic-evaluation; Hypoglycemia; Medical resources; Type 1 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Complications / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics*
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / economics*
  • Models, Econometric
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • United States / epidemiology