Diabetes Prevalence Continues To Rise – Better Therapeutics' Digital Treatment Could Help Change This Trajectory

With the ever-increasing prevalence and staggering economic burden, the demand for innovative solutions to treat diabetes has never been higher

Diabetes is a global epidemic, affecting millions of lives and straining healthcare systems and economies. In the United States alone, it's estimated that over 37 million people have diabetes, with millions more undiagnosed or at risk. Prevalence is projected to grow to over 55 million people by 2030, and despite many new drugs hitting the market, about half of the patients on standard-of-care medications do not have their blood sugar under control. The economic burden of diabetes is staggering, with costs exceeding $327 billion annually. It's clear that the need for effective, efficient, and accessible diabetes management solutions is greater than ever before.

This surge in prevalence is largely due to sedentary lifestyles, the availability of high-sugar and ultra-processed foods and the growing global obesity epidemic. Current treatment options for diabetes primarily focus on managing symptoms and controlling blood sugar levels with medications rather than addressing the underlying causes. Consequently, most patients' disease progresses over time, leading to increasingly more costly healthcare interventions.

Given the escalating prevalence, soaring costs and growing burden of diabetes, there is a crucial need to revolutionize how we approach its treatment. One company, Better Therapeutics BTTX is taking a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of diabetes through the development of a novel form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and delivering it digitally, enabling infinite scalability. CBT, generally considered the gold standard of evidenced-based behavioral therapy, is proven to work for the treatment of T2D but in-person therapy sessions are not accessible, scalable or affordable for the millions of patients who could benefit from it. 

Better Therapeutics aims to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve lasting behavior change. The company’s FDA-regulated treatment requires a prescription by a healthcare provider, with the intention to be reimbursed by payers – similar to traditional prescription medicines – and the digital nature helps overcome many accessibility barriers associated with traditional treatment models. 

"Our healthcare system's approach to treating cardiometabolic diseases, like diabetes, is fundamentally flawed," said David Perry, co-founder and Chairman of Better Therapeutics. "The U.S. spends over $4 trillion annually on healthcare, with more than $3 trillion dedicated to treating chronic diseases. However, the majority of this spending is on symptom-alleviating medications, rather than addressing the root causes influenced by lifestyle behaviors. We can give patients a pill to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, or cholesterol, but we do almost nothing to treat the reasons that those metrics were high in the first place.”

In July 2023, Better Therapeutics received FDA Authorization for its first product, AspyreRxTM, to treat adults with type 2 diabetes. AspyreRx underwent rigorous clinical testing, including a large randomized controlled trial, to demonstrate safety and efficacy. Better Therapeutics reports that the trial showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful decreases in blood sugar when compared to a control group receiving the current standard of care. Specifically, over 50% of patients achieved a clinically meaningful response, with those patients experiencing an average drop of 1.3% in blood sugar as measured by HbA1c; this is similar to what is seen in modern drug trials.

In addition, patients who used AspyreRx were also generally healthier: exploratory data revealed a range of cardiometabolic improvements, including blood pressure, body weight, quality of life, mood, safety and lower medication utilization compared to the control group.

AspyreRx's clinical trial results suggest potential cost savings with health economic models indicating that the combination of AspyreRx alongside standard of care treatment can result in better outcomes at a lower cost to the healthcare system. The emphasis on enhancing patient health through behavior modification also holds promise for reducing other costly healthcare interventions associated with diabetes.

A behavioral health intervention like AspyreRx offers a broadly accessible and effective means for clinicians and individuals living with type 2 diabetes to address the psychological, behavioral and cognitive factors contributing to the disease's development and progression. While companies like Novo Nordisk NVO and Eli Lilly LLY have seen success with diabetes medication, Better Therapeutics’ transformative solution has the potential to change the trajectory of the disease.

Featured photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash.

This post contains sponsored content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

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