Empagliflozin is a more cost-effective treatment than oral semaglutide at preventing cardiovascular death in patients with type 2 diabetes

By Samar Mahmoud, MS
Published February 24, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • This study found that empagliflozin, a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2i), is a more cost-effective treatment option than oral semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) receptor agonist, to prevent cardiovascular mortality (CVM) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

  • A formal cost-effectiveness study comparing SGLT2i and GLP1 agonists for CVM prevention is needed to confirm the findings presented in this study.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in type 2 diabetes patients. Oral semaglutide and empagliflozin have been shown to reduce the risk of CVM in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Why This Study Matters 

While oral semaglutide and empagliflozin are effective at decreasing the risk of cardiovascular death, they place a significant financial burden on the healthcare system. It is not clear which of these two treatment options is more cost-effective. To address this need, this study sought to compare the value for money of empagliflozin in comparison to oral semaglutide in preventing CVM.

Study Design 

Investigators calculated the cost of treatment needed to prevent 1 case of CVM for either drug by multiplying the annualized number needed to prevent 1 event by the annual cost of each therapy.  Published randomized controlled trials were used for efficacy estimates. Drug costs were calculated as 75% of the US National Average Drug Acquisition Cost listing. 

Results and Conclusions

Investigators found that the annual treatment costs were $4,797 for empagliflozin and $7,133 for oral semaglutide. The corresponding costs needed to treat were $676,385 for empagliflozin and $1,005,855 for oral semaglutide.  

Related Research

Consider these findings from similar research studies:

  • In patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes on metformin, oral semaglutide was more effective than empagliflozin at reducing HbA1c but not body weight at 26 weeks (Source). 

  • In patients with type 2 diabetes at increased risk of CVD, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors significantly reduced the risk for major adverse cardiovascular events (Source). 

Original Source 

Hammerman A, Moore CM, Aboalhasan E, Azuri J, Arbel R. Usefulness of empagliflozin versus oral semaglutide for prevention of cardiovascular mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The American Journal of Cardiology. Published online February 2022:S0002914922000935.

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