BACKGROUND: Oral semaglutide is the first oral formulation of a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist to be approved in the United States for glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). While oral semaglutide is not indicated for reduction of cardiovascular event risk, its label does include evidence of no increase in cardiovascular risk in people who received oral semaglutide.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the incremental value of oral semaglutide added to existing antihyperglycemic treatment for people with T2DM with additional risk for cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: We estimated the lifetime cost-effectiveness of oral semaglutide added to current antihyperglycemic treatment for T2DM using a microsimulation model based primarily on the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Outcomes Model 2 (OM2) equations. Oral semaglutide added to current antihyperglycemic treatment was separately compared with (a) ongoing background antihyperglycemic treatment, (b) sitagliptin, (c) empagliflozin, and (d) liraglutide. Comparators sitagliptin, empagliflozin, and liraglutide were added to ongoing antihyperglycemic treatment. We applied hazard ratios derived from a network meta-analysis for cardiovascular and renal outcomes to the UKPDS OM2 estimated baseline rates. Health state utilities and costs were derived from the published literature. We estimated total costs, life-years (LYs), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), clinical events, and cost per major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) avoided, over a lifetime time horizon using discount rates of 3% for costs and outcomes.

RESULTS: The lifetime total cost for people treated with oral semaglutide was $311,300, with costs for the other comparators ranging from $262,800 (background treatment alone) to $287,800 (liraglutide). Oral semaglutide resulted in the fewest MACE, including the fewest cardiovascular deaths. Among the 5 modeled treatment strategies, oral semaglutide had the highest LYs gained (8.43 vs. 7.76 [background treatment alone] to 8.29 [empagliflozin and liraglutide]) and the highest QALYs gained (4.11 vs. 3.70 [background treatment alone] to 4.03 [empagliflozin]). Oral semaglutide would likely be considered cost-effective compared with liraglutide (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] = $40,100), and moderately cost-effective versus background treatment alone ([ICER] = $117,500/QALY) and sitagliptin (ICER = $145,200/QALY). The ICER for oral semaglutide compared with empagliflozin was approximately $458,400 per QALY.

CONCLUSIONS: As modeled, oral semaglutide as an add-on therapy to background antihyperglycemic treatment produced incremental benefits in MACE avoided, along with greater QALYs compared with background antihyperglycemic treatment alone. Oral semaglutide use resulted in better outcomes than background treatment alone or sitagliptin, and similar outcomes to liraglutide or empagliflozin with overlapping 95% confidence ranges for QALYs. Oral semaglutide was estimated to be cost-effective compared with liraglutide and to have incremental cost-effectiveness ratios between $100,000 and $150,000 per QALY versus sitagliptin and background therapy alone, but it did not meet these thresholds compared with empagliflozin.