Incremental cost-effectiveness of evidence-based non-surgical weight loss strategies.
Recent medical advancements have led to new modes of treatment for non-surgical weight loss, including several new medications. Our aim was to conduct an incremental cost-effectiveness analysis for all commercially available, evidence-based non-surgical weight loss interventions for people with excess weight. We identified interventions through a systematic review of randomized controlled trials that reported weight loss 12 months from baseline. We then meta-analysed the results, sourced costs and performed an incremental cost-effectiveness analysis from the payer perspective. Cost-effectiveness was presented in terms of cost per kilogram lost and quality-adjusted life years (QALY) gained. We further performed sensitivity analyses on costs and duration of benefits, and a probabilistic sensitivity analysis. Ten interventions were identified for inclusion: six pharmaceutical products (Alli, Xenical, Qsymia, Contrave, Belviq and Saxenda), two lifestyle modification programmes (Weight Watchers Meetings and Online), one food replacement and lifestyle programme (Jenny Craig) and one intragastric balloon system (Orbera). At an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $30 071 per additional QALY gained, only Weight Watchers Meetings was cost-effective. Sensitivity analyses revealed that for the medications to become incrementally cost-effective, costs would have to decrease by as much as 91%. Results are highly dependent on duration that benefits are maintained. Despite several newly available interventions, Weight Watchers Meetings is currently the only evidence-based, commercially available, cost-effective option for non-surgical weight loss. Other interventions, specifically medications, are more effective but priced too high to be cost-effective.
Finkelstein, EA; Verghese, NR
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)