Cost-effectiveness of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) in children: illusion or delusion?

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Abstract

Cost-effectiveness of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) in children is reviewed in the context of possible improvement of percentage of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and of other clinical benefits over multiple daily injections (MDI). Cost-effectiveness depends on clinical efficacy but reported clinical efficacy parameters may overlook definite benefits perceived by children and parents using CSII. There are few detailed reports on cost comparisons between CSII and MDI in adults, even less in children or adolescents. Review of direct extra costs for CSII over conventional treatment, including MDI, suggest that these may double, 5000–6000 EUR vs. 3000 EUR per patient year. An example is given of how to calculate direct cost differences, showing local differences. Randomized comparisons between CSII and MDI in childhood and adolescence show few marked clinical effects, but non-randomized comparisons favor CSII. Quality of life parameters fall short in any such comparison in children and adolescents alike. The reasons for the apparent discrepancy between non-randomized childhood studies and the randomized prospective ones are given. There is a dire need for better parameters to assess the well-being of diabetic children treated by CSII or MDI. Only then is it warranted to estimate the cost-effectiveness of CSII vs. MDI in childhood and adolescence.

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