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Pharmacoeconomics. 1997 Jul;12(1):42-53.

Cost-effective management of diabetic foot ulcers. A review.

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Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE), Lund, Sweden.


Foot lesions are common and serious complications in patients with diabetes mellitus. In recent years, several authors have, in addition to the medical aspects, focused on the high costs for treatment of this complication. However, few studies have performed a complete health-economic comparison and analysis of different treatments. This is probably related to the complexity of the problem and ethical difficulties in performing randomised clinical trials on these patients. Despite the lack of comparative health-economic studies, most authors conclude that amputations should be avoided if there is any possibility of saving the limb. This is not only because of the economic consequences-high costs for repeated hospitalisations, rehabilitation, home care and social-service support-associated with amputations, but also the quality-of-life aspects. Alternative treatment options might seem costly in the short term, but most cost-effectiveness analyses that also consider the long term perspective have concluded that treatment alternatives in which the limb is saved are more cost effective. Methodological aspects, such as the perspective of a study, may cause difficulties in comparing results between countries and settings. By using the societal perspective in economic studies, incentives to push costs from one sector to another might be avoided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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