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J Manag Care Pharm. 2005 Jul-Aug;11(6):458-68.

Cost-effectiveness of sibutramine in the LOSE Weight Study: evaluating the role of pharmacologic weight-loss therapy within a weight management program.

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  • 1University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, PO Box 210207, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


the cost-effectiveness of drug therapy when used in conjunction with a weight management program (WMP) for treatment of obesity. The objective was to compare the cost-effectiveness of sibutramine (Meridia) plus a structured WMP versus only a structured WMP in both overweight and obese individuals. The core WMP was a physician-supervised, multidisciplinary program for which each enrollee paid $100 out of pocket.


A cost-effectiveness analysis was performed based upon the results of a previously published randomized controlled trial conducted within a managed care organization. The target population for this study was obese or overweight persons. The perspective of the study was that of a managed care organization. The intervention consisted of subjects receiving a WMP with or without sibutramine. The primary outcomes of this study were (a) absolute change in body weight and percentage change in body weight over 12 months, (b) change in obesity-related and total medical costs from 12 months prior to enrollment through 12 months after enrollment, and (c) cost-effectiveness in terms of cost per pound of weight loss. All costs were adjusted to 2004 dollars using the respective components of the consumer price index for each medical service or medication.


A total of 501 evaluable subjects were enrolled in the study, with 281 receiving sibutramine plus a structured WMP and 220 receiving only the structured WMP. The meanSD weight loss was significantly greater in the sibutramine (13.715.5 pounds, 4.8%) group than in the nondrug group (513.2 pounds, 2.2%) (P < 0.001). The change in obesity-related total cost was a median increase of $408 for the sibutramine group compared with $31 for the nondrug group (P < 0.001). The change in total health care cost was a median $1,279 increase in the sibutramine group compared with $271 for the nondrug group (P < 0.001). Adding sibutramine to the WMP increased the total cost by $44 per additional pound of weight loss (95% confidence interval, 42-46). Sensitivity analyses found that the results were sensitive to the price of sibutramine, whereas varying the cost of clinic visits did not substantially change the results.


Patients enrolled in a WMP receiving sibutramine had greater weight loss and decrease in body mass index at greater cost than did patients enrolled in the same program who did not receive sibutramine. There were no observed savings in total health care resource utilization or cost in the sibutramine group compared with the nondrug group.

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