Cost-effectiveness of switching to insulin degludec from other basal insulins in real-world clinical practice in Italy

Aims: The costs associated with insulin therapy and diabetes-related complications represent a significant and growing economic burden for healthcare systems. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of switching to insulin degludec (degludec) vs continuing previous basal insulin, in Italian patients with type 1 (T1D) or type 2 (T2D) diabetes, using a long-term economic model.

Materials and methods: Data were retrieved from a real-world population of patients from clinical practice in Italy. Clinical parameters included in the base-case model were change from baseline in HbA1c, rates of hypoglycemia, and basal and bolus insulin dose, at 6 months following switch to degludec. Costs of treatments were taken from official Italian pharmaceutical list prices and costs of hypoglycemia were based on the literature. The data were used to populate a long-term (lifetime) IQVIA CORE Diabetes Model to evaluate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) – cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). The robustness of these results was tested with extensive sensitivity analyses by varying the time horizons and abolishing each of the treatment differences and previous basal insulins.

Results: The total incremental cost for degludec vs previous basal insulin was €–6,310 and €–2,682 for patients with T1D and T2D, respectively; the switch to degludec resulted in a QALY gain of 0.781 and 0.628. The long-term ICER for degludec vs continuing the previous basal insulin regimen showed that degludec was dominant for both T1D and T2D, meaning that patient health was improved in terms of QALYs with lower healthcare costs. Sensitivity analyses showed that degludec remained dominant in most scenarios including after elimination of any benefit in non-severe hypoglycemia and insulin dose, in both T1D and T2D.

Conclusions: Under routine care, switching to degludec is dominant, compared with continuing previous basal insulin, in Italian patients with T1D or T2D.