The cost-effectiveness of OPTIFAST for the treatment of obesity

This study, published in the Journal of Medical Economics, assesses the potential cost-savings of using the OPTIFAST program in a population of US subjects, in comparison to “No intervention” and pharmacotherapy (liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion).

OPTIFAST is a scientifically proven and medically supervised low-calorie diet program, for individuals with overweight and obesity. It has been shown to achieve acute and sustained weight loss, and reduction of clinical complications of obesity in studies since the 1980s. It involves providing obese patients with a 12 week diet of total meal replacement, with 2 subsequent phases of transition to a food based diet for 12 weeks each, and then another phase of 24 weeks. The total costs of the program is USD 4,500, which consists of USD 1,500 for the meals, and USD 3,000 for the weight management programme.

In the US at the moment, the threshold of willingness to pay for a new medicinal product per QALY is ~USD 50,000. A QALY is equal to one year of life lived in perfect health, and is calculated on numerous factors that assess quality-of-life systematically. This study has found that the cost of a QALY using OPTIFAST is USD 6,475, which is far below the threshold and represents great value for money. One of the reasons for this is the significantly lower incidence of complications, as compared with “no-intervention” and liraglutide or naltrexone-bupropion, in patients with class I or II obesity. This benefit is even more meaningful in class III obese patients with T2DM, and further increases with more time on the programme.

OPTIFAST has been demonstrated to lower healthcare costs, even when compared with bariatric surgery. Furthermore is has additional clinical and socio-economic advantages, due to few and mild adverse events when compared to other treatment regimes.



Be the first to learn about the latest research highlights, government action and the media coverage in the area of weight management and obesity.

1 Comment

  1. Michele

    Yes, and Optifast is absolutely disgusting to imbibe, not to mention that many patients (not all) are hungry, cold, and tired for the duration of the program. What this article fails to mention is what the compliance rates are.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *