Background: Assessment of cost-effectiveness of interventions to address modifiable risk factors associated with dementia requires estimates of long-term impacts of these interventions which are rarely directly available and must be estimated using a range of assumptions.
Objectives: To test the cost-effectiveness of dementia prevention measures using a methodology which transparently addresses the many assumptions required to use data from short-term studies, and which readily incorporates sensitivity analyses.
Design: We explore an approach to estimating cost-effective prices which uses aggregate data including estimated lifetime costs of dementia, both financial and quality of life, and incorporates a range of assumptions regarding sustainability of short- term gains and other parameters.
Setting: The approach is addressed in the context of the theoretical reduction in a range of risk factors, and in the context of a specific small-scale trial of an internet-based intervention augmented with diet and physical activity consultations.
Measurements: The principal outcomes were prices per unit of interventions at which interventions were cost-effective or cost-saving.
Results: Taking a societal perspective, a notional intervention reducing a range of dementia risk-factors by 5% was cost-effective at $A460 per person with higher risk groups at $2,148 per person. The on-line program costing $825 per person was cost-effective at $1,850 per person even if program effect diminished by 75% over time.
Conclusions: Interventions to address risk factors for dementia are likely to be cost-effective if appropriately designed, but confirmation of this conclusion requires longer term follow-up of trials to measure the impact and sustainability of short-term gains.
Keywords: Dementia; cost-effectiveness; interventions; risk factors; sustainability.