BACKGROUND: This study details the within-trial economic evaluation and long-term economic model of SITLESS, a multi-country, three-armed randomized controlled trial comparing a combined intervention of exercise referral schemes (ERS) enhanced by self-management strategies (SMS) against ERS alone and usual care (UC).
METHODS: A cost-utility analysis, conducted from the base-case perspective of the National Health Service and personal and social services, estimated the incremental cost per incremental quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and years in full capability (YFC). A secondary analysis combined the costs with a broad set of outcomes within a cost-consequence framework, from a societal perspective. A Markov-type decision-analytic model was developed to project short-term changes in physical activity to long-term outcomes and costs, over a 5- and 15-year time horizon.
RESULTS: The results of the within-trial analysis show that SMS+ERS is highly likely to be cost-effective compared to ERS alone (ICER €4270/QALY), but not compared to UC. Participants allocated to the SMS+ERS group also showed an improvement in YFC compared to ERS alone and UC. The long-term analysis revealed that SMS+ERS is likely to be a cost-effective option compared to ERS and UC over a 5-year, but not with a 15-year horizon, being then dominated by ERS alone.
CONCLUSION: This research provides new evidence that SMS is a cost-effective add-on to ERS strategies. This economic evaluation informs the case for further, cost-effective, refinement of lifestyle change programmes targeted to older adults, with the aim of ultimately reducing the impact of non-communicable diseases in this population.