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Behaviour that challenges in people with intellectual disability is associated with higher healthcare, social care and societal costs. Although behavioural therapies are widely used, there is limited evidence regarding the cost and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
We aimed to assess the incremental cost per QALY gained of therapist training in positive behaviour support (PBS) and treatment as usual (TAU) compared with TAU using data from a cluster randomised controlled trial (Clinical Trials.gov registration: NCT01680276).
We conducted a cost-utility analysis (cost per QALY gained) of 23 teams randomised to PBS or TAU, with a total of 246 participants followed up over 36 months. The primary analysis was from a healthcare cost perspective with a secondary analysis from a societal cost perspective.
Over 36 months the intervention resulted in an additional 0.175 QALYs (discounted and adjusted 95% CI −0.068 to 0.418). The total cost of training in and delivery of PBS is £1598 per participant plus an additional cost of healthcare of £399 (discounted and adjusted 95% CI −603 to 1724). From a healthcare cost perspective there is an 85% probability that the intervention is cost-effective compared with TAU at a £30 000 willingness to pay for a QALY threshold.
There was a high probability that training in PBS is cost-effective as the cost of training and delivery of PBS is balanced out by modest improvements in quality of life. However, staff training in PBS is not supported given we found no evidence for clinical effectiveness.
Staff training in positive behaviour support (PBS) is a widespread treatment approach for challenging behaviour in adults with intellectual disability.
To evaluate whether such training is clinically effective in reducing challenging behaviour during routine care (trial registration: NCT01680276).
We carried out a multicentre, cluster randomised controlled trial involving 23 community intellectual disability services in England, randomly allocated to manual-assisted staff training in PBS (n = 11) or treatment as usual (TAU, n = 12). Data were collected from 246 adult participants.
No treatment effects were found for the primary outcome (challenging behaviour over 12 months, adjusted mean difference = −2.14, 95% CI: −8.79, 4.51) or secondary outcomes.
Staff training in PBS, as applied in this study, did not reduce challenging behaviour. Further research should tackle implementation issues and endeavour to identify other interventions that can reduce challenging behaviour.
Depression is a common and costly comorbidity in dementia. There are very few data on the cost-effectiveness of antidepressants for depression in dementia and their effects on carer outcomes.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of sertraline and mirtazapine compared with placebo for depression in dementia.
A pragmatic, multicentre, randomised placebo-controlled trial with a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis (trial registration: ISRCTN88882979 and EudraCT 2006-000105-38). The primary cost-effectiveness analysis compared differences in treatment costs for patients receiving sertraline, mirtazapine or placebo with differences in effectiveness measured by the primary outcome, total Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) score, over two time periods: 0–13 weeks and 0–39 weeks. The secondary evaluation was a cost-utility analysis using quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) computed from the Euro-Qual (EQ-5D) and societal weights over those same periods.
There were 339 participants randomised and 326 with costs data (111 placebo, 107 sertraline, 108 mirtazapine). For the primary outcome, decrease in depression, mirtazapine and sertraline were not cost-effective compared with placebo. However, examining secondary outcomes, the time spent by unpaid carers caring for participants in the mirtazapine group was almost half that for patients receiving placebo (6.74 v. 12.27 hours per week) or sertraline (6.74 v. 12.32 hours per week). Informal care costs over 39 weeks were £1510 and £1522 less for the mirtazapine group compared with placebo and sertraline respectively.
In terms of reducing depression, mirtazapine and sertraline were not cost-effective for treating depression in dementia. However, mirtazapine does appear likely to have been cost-effective if costing includes the impact on unpaid carers and with quality of life included in the outcome. Unpaid (family) carer costs were lower with mirtazapine than sertraline or placebo. This may have been mediated via the putative ability of mirtazapine to ameliorate sleep disturbances and anxiety. Given the priority and the potential value of supporting family carers of people with dementia, further research is warranted to investigate the potential of mirtazapine to help with behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia and in supporting carers.
Diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive dysfunction, but it is not clear whether the disorder increases the risk of conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.
To determine the association between diabetes mellitus and dementia conversion in people with mild cognitive impairment (Peterson's criteria) in a prospective community-based study.
People over 65 years old were approached through primary care practices in south London, UK, and those with mild cognitive impairment (n = 103) were followed up for 4 years. Presence of diabetes was established from self-report and information from general practitioners.
Nineteen participants progressed to dementia, with the predominant diagnosis being probable or possible Alzheimer's disease (in 84%). Only diabetes mellitus was associated with progression to dementia (hazard ratio 2.9, 95% CI 1.1–7.3) after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, APOE4, premorbid IQ and other health conditions.
Diabetes mellitus increases not only the risks of dementia and mild cognitive impairment but also the risk of progression from such impairment to dementia.
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