Cost-effectiveness analysis of 4 GLP-1RAs in the treatment of obesity in a US setting

Ann Transl Med. 2022 Feb;10(3):152. doi: 10.21037/atm-22-200.


Background: The number of obese people continues to increase worldwide, and obesity-related complications add to every country's health burden. Consequently, new weight-loss medications, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), are attracting increasing attention. This study sought to assess the cost effectiveness for weight loss of 4 GLP-1RAs in adult patients with obesity in the United States.

Methods: Four GLP-1RA groups that received Liraglutide (1.8 mg QD), Semaglutide (1.0 mg QW), Dulaglutide (1.5 mg QW), or Exenatide (10 μg BID), and one no-treatment group were compared using a decision-tree model. All the estimated parameters were derived from published articles. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were adopted as the study endpoints. We analyzed the results with the willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold, and conducted deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

Results: The GLP-1RAs produced effective weight-loss results; however, not all the GLP-1RAs were cost effective compared to no treatment based on a WTP threshold of $195000/QALY. Among the 4 GLP-1RAs, Semaglutide provided a cost-effective strategy with an ICER of $135467/QALY. The sensitivity analyses showed that these results are reliable.

Conclusions: Among the 4 GLP-1RAs, Semaglutide was the most cost-effective obesity medication.

Keywords: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs); cost‐effectiveness analysis; obesity; weight loss.