Effective Popular Diet Programs
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 11:52 AM

Among the most popular diet programs and drugs, Weight Watchers trims the most bulge for the buck, according to a new cost-effectiveness analysis.

The incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) demonstrates Weight Watchers because it's the least expensive."  

Researchers conducted the analysis because more insurers have been considering coverage of weight-loss drugs and diets given the increasing health and cost burden of obesity. Yet little information exists as to how pricey the incremental health benefits of the various strategies are.

In their review of 27 studies, the researchers looked at three diets and three drugs: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and VTrim, and Qsymia, Belviq (lorcaserin), and orlistat (Xenical, Alli).  Annual costs of the diet programs ranged from $377 per year with Weight Watchers to $682 with VTrim and $2,512 with Jenny Craig.  Among the medications, Qsymia was the cheapest at $1,336 per year, followed by orlistat at $1,518 and Belviq at $1,743.

Among the diets, patients lost the most weight with Jenny Craig (16 pounds/year), followed by 7 pounds with Vtrim and 5 pounds with Weight Watchers. Qsymia offered the greatest weight loss among the diet drugs, at 15 pounds per year, followed by Belviq at 7 pounds and orlistat at 6 pounds. 

The researchers then calculated the cost per kilogram of weight lost for each intervention, finding a range of $155 for Weight Watchers to $546 for orlistat. And in terms of QALYs, Weight Watchers and Qsymia offered the best value for the money, they concluded.

Incremental cost per QALY was $34,630 for Weight Watchers and $54,130 for Qsymia -- the latter is slightly above the usual threshold for cost-effectiveness, which is $50,000.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/Endocrinology/GeneralEndocrinology/46896