A Trial-Based Economic Evaluation Comparing Spinal Cord Stimulation With Best Medical Treatment in Painful Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Rachel Slangen*, Catharina G. Faber, Nicolaas C. Schaper, Elbert A. Joosten, Robert T. van Dongen, Alfons G. Kessels, Maarten van Kleef, Carmen D. Dirksen

*Corresponding author for this work

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The objective was to perform an economic evaluation comparing spinal cord stimulation (SCS) in combination with best medical treatment (BMT) with BMT in painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients. Alongside a prospective 2-center randomized controlled trial, involving 36 painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy patients with severe lower limb pain not responding to conventional therapy, an economic evaluation was performed. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were based on: 1) societal costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and 2) direct health care costs and the number of successfully treated patients, respectively, both with a time horizon of 12 months. Bootstrap and secondary analyses were performed to address uncertainty. Total societal cost amounted to (sic)26,539.18 versus (sic)5,313.45 per patient in the SCS and BMT group, respectively. QALYs were .58 versus .36 and the number of successfully treated patients was 55% versus 7% for the SCS and BMT group, respectively. This resulted in incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of (sic)94,159.56 per QALY and (sic)34,518.85 per successfully treated patient, respectively. Bootstrap analyses showed that the probability of SCS being cost-effective ranges from 0 to 46% with willingness to pay threshold values ranging between (sic)20,000 and (sic)80,000 for a QALY. Secondary analyses showed that cost-effectiveness of SCS became more favorable after correcting for baseline cost imbalance between the 2 groups, extending the depreciation period of SCS material to 4 years, and extrapolation of the data up to 4 years. Although SCS was considerably more effective compared with BMT, the substantial initial investment that is required resulted in SCS not being cost-effective in the short term. Cost-effectiveness results were sensitive to baseline cost imbalances between the groups and the depreciation period of the SCS material.

Perspective: Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus and the humanistic and economic burden is high. This article presents the cost-effectiveness of SCS in patients suffering from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy from a societal and health care perspective with a time horizon of 12 months. (C) 2016 by the American Pain Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Pain
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Economic evaluation
  • cost-utility analysis
  • cost-effectiveness analysis
  • diabetic neuropathy
  • painful diabetic neuropathy
  • quality of life

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