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How Spending on Diabetes, Hypertension Treatment Changes After Bariatric Surgery


July 03, 2019

Researchers from Rush Medical College found that spending on diabetes medications as well as high blood pressure medications was lower among patients who underwent weight-loss surgery. The findings of the study were presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) national clinical symposium on obesity prevention, treatment, and research.  

The significant reduction in spending after surgery in such a short time led researchers to conclude that costs savings after bariatric surgery are not dependent on weight loss alone,” wrote ASMBS in a press release.  

For their study, the Rush Medical College researchers examined data from 2010 patients. They found that patients were spending roughly $225 per month on diabetes treatments and $71 on blood pressure treatments prior to surgery. Based on the study findings, three to six months following bariatric surgery, patients were spending roughly $70-$80 on diabetes drugs and $47-$54 on hypertensive drugs.  

“The safety and effectiveness of bariatric surgery is well-established and while health improvement is clearly the most important goal, the significant reduction in prescription drug costs due to disease remission or improvement is an added bonus,” Naomi Parrella, MD, study co-author and assistant professor in the department of family medicine and the department of surgery at Rush Medical College, said in a statement.  

“While medications play an important role in disease management, patients, physicians, and insurers can agree on the further benefit from the potential financial impact of bariatric surgery along with the myriad of clinical benefits.” 

According to ASMBS, prior studies have demonstrated numerous improvements associated with bariatric surgery. ASMBS said that bariatric surgery has:

  • shown improvements in diabetes in roughly 90% of patients;
  • caused diabetes to go into remission in 78% of patients; and,
  • become an effective strategy for blood pressure control in a wide range of patients with obesity and hypertension.

“This new study adds to the mounting evidence that bariatric surgery is a cost effective treatment option that results in the improvement or resolution of diseases including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure,” Eric J. DeMaria, MD, president of the ASMBS and professor and chief, Division of General/Bariatric Surgery, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, who was not involved in the study, expressed in a statement.

Julie Gould

Reference:

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric Surgery Slashes Spending on Diabetes and Hypertension Medications [press release]. https://asmbs.org/articles/bariatric-surgery-slashes-spending-on-diabetes-and-hypertension-medications. Published June 20, 2019. Accessed July 3, 2019.  

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