Approach to assessing the economic impact of insulin-related hypoglycaemia using the novel Local Impact of Hypoglycaemia Tool

Diabet Med. 2015 Sep;32(9):1156-66. doi: 10.1111/dme.12771. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Aim: To provide estimates of the costs of severe and non-severe insulin-related hypoglycaemia in the UK using the Local Impact of Hypoglycaemia Tool.

Methods: Rates of hypoglycaemia were extracted from the UK Hypoglycaemia Study Group observational study. The costs of severe and non-severe hypoglycaemic episodes in insulin-treated adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were estimated from UK data sources. The rates and costs were then applied to specific populations to give an estimate of the cost of insulin-related hypoglycaemia for the UK, a specific locality, or a user-defined population. User-specific rates and costs could also be applied.

Results: The estimated cost of a hypoglycaemic episode can range from as much as £2,152 for severe episodes (for which the patient is admitted to hospital) to as little as £1.67 for non-severe episodes. With a UK population of 64.1 million, the total estimated cost of managing insulin-related hypoglycaemia is £468.0 m per year (£295.9 m for severe episodes, £172.1 m for non-severe episodes). On a local health economy level, using a hypothetical general population of 100 000, the total cost of managing insulin-related hypoglycaemia is estimated to be £730,052 per year (£461,658 for severe and £268,394 for non-severe episodes).

Conclusions: The Local Impact of Hypoglycaemia Tool highlights the economic burden of insulin-related hypoglycaemia. Non-severe episodes are often overlooked because of their low individual cost, but their high frequency makes the cumulative cost substantial. The Local Impact of Hypoglycaemia Tool also shows clinicians and budget-holders the economic impact of lower rates of hypoglycaemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Critical Pathways / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics*
  • Emergency Medical Services / economics
  • Health Resources / economics
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemia / economics*
  • Hypoglycemia / therapy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / economics*
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / economics*
  • Length of Stay / economics


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin