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The cost-effectiveness of DiRECT’s Type 2 remission

Project summary

Economic Evaluation of the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial DiRECT

The DiRECT trial is finding out whether a weight management programme, including a low-calorie diet, can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for the long-term. This project will look at the cost effectiveness of this programme when delivered through GP care.

This will give the NHS important information to help work out if this kind of treatment could be offered to people with Type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Background to research

In 2013, we invested £2.5 million in DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial) to find out if a structured weight management programme, which uses a low-calorie diet, could put Type 2 diabetes into remission. 

The DiRECT trial is still underway, but so far the programme has put Type 2 diabetes into remission in around half of those who’ve tried it. 

A treatment of this kind could potentially be delivered relatively cheaply, compared to methods such as weight loss surgery, which we know can also put Type 2 diabetes into remission in some people.

There could also be longer term savings to the NHS. If people with Type 2 diabetes achieve remission, they will no longer need to take diabetes medications, and may experience health benefits from their weight loss and having normal blood glucose levels.

Research aims

Professor Mike Lean will work out the cost of this weight management programme when delivered through GP care and compare it to the costs of currently available Type 2 diabetes treatments. 

The researchers will look at costs within the DiRECT trial and use health economics to predict costs over a lifetime, the impact it could have on health and any savings linked to this. 

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This research will help us work out whether a low-calorie diet-based weight management programme is a cost-effective and feasible way of treating Type 2 diabetes.

This will provide the NHS with crucial information they need to decide if a treatment like this should be offered routinely to people with Type 2 diabetes in the future. 

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