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A systematic review of cost-effectiveness studies of prevention and treatment for eating disorders

journal contribution
posted on 01.04.2018, 00:00 authored by Long Le, P Hay, Cathy Mihalopoulos
Background: Eating disorders are serious mental disorders and are associated with substantial economic and social burden. The aim of this study is to undertake a systematic review of the cost-effectiveness studies of both preventive and treatment interventions for eating disorder.Method:Electronic databases (including the Cochrane Controlled Trial Register, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Academic Search Complete, Global Health, CINAHL complete, Health Business Elite, Econlit, Health Policy Reference Center and ERIC) were searched for published cost-effectiveness studies of eating disorder prevention and treatment including papers published up to January 2017. The quality of studies was assessed using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist.Results:In all, 13 studies met the review inclusion criteria as full cost-effectiveness studies and 8 were published since 2011. The studies included three modelled and one trial-based study focused on prevention, two trial-based and one modelled study for anorexia nervosa treatment and three trial-based studies for bulimia nervosa treatment. The remaining studies targeted binge-eating disorder or non-specific eating disorder treatment. The average percent of CHEERS checklist items reported was 71% (standard deviation 21%). Eating disorder interventions were mainly cost-saving or more effective and more costly compared to comparators; however, some results did not reach statistical significance. In the two studies that achieved 100% CHEERS checklist, one study reported that a cognitive dissonance intervention might be cost-effective for prevention of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa with a 90% participation rate and the second study supported lisdexamfetamine to be cost-effective in the treatment of binge-eating disorder. Insufficient evidence for long-term cost-effectiveness (e.g. over 2 years) was found.Conclusion:Cost-effectiveness studies in eating disorder appear to be increasing in number over the last 6 years. Findings were inconsistent and no firm conclusion can be drawn with regard to comparative value-for-money conclusions. However, some promising interventions were identified. Further research with improved methodology is required.



Australian & New Zealand journal of psychiatry






328 - 338


SAGE Publications


London, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists