Introduction: Exercise is effective in reducing falls in people with Parkinson disease. However, information on the cost effectiveness of this approach is lacking. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of Tai Ji Quan for reducing falls among patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson disease.
Methods: We used data from a previous intervention trial to analyze resource use costs related to intervention delivery and number of falls observed during a 9-month study period. Cost effectiveness was estimated via incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in which Tai Ji Quan was compared with 2 alternative interventions (Resistance training and Stretching) on the primary outcome of per fall prevented and the secondary outcome of per participant quality-adjusted life years (QALY) gained. We also conducted subgroup and sensitivity analyses.
Results: Tai Ji Quan was more effective than either Resistance training or Stretching; it had the lowest cost and was the most effective in improving primary and secondary outcomes. Compared with Stretching, Tai Ji Quan cost an average of $175 less for each additional fall prevented and produced a substantial improvement in QALY gained at a lower cost. Results from subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed no variation in cost-effectiveness estimates. However, sensitivity analyses demonstrated a much lower ICER ($27) when only intervention costs were considered.
Conclusion: Tai Ji Quan represents a cost-effective strategy for optimizing spending to prevent falls and maximize health gains in people with Parkinson disease. While these results are promising, they warrant further validation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00611481.