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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


OLVEIRA, G.; TAPIA, M.ª J.  y  COLOMO, N.. Costs versus benefits of oral nutritional supplements. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2009, vol.24, n.3, pp.251-259. ISSN 1699-5198.

Health economics pretends to assign resources that are short in essence and that may be used for other purposes. Health costs analysis pretends to compare the pros and cons of several options among which an election can be made in order to obtain greater benefits with lower costs. The current legislation on prescription of enteral nutrition entails confusing definitions about the administration route and the requirements of home-based enteral nutrition, without a specific regulation comprising the prescription of oral supplements (OS). From the year 2000 to 2007, the consumption of homebased enteral nutrition in Andalusia increased considerably; the costs generated being multiplied by 37. Although the number of persons that daily consumed supplements was higher than the number of diets through nasogastric tube (DT) during the years evaluated, the costs derived from OS surpassed those of DT from the year 2005 due to the combination of two factors: a progressive increase in the number of persons to whom supplements were prescribed, and on the other hand the incorporation of more expensive specific formulations. The use of oral supplements seems to be cost/effective in hospitalized surgical patients (during the pre- and postsurgical period) and possibly in hospitalized malnourished elderly, especially after performing a hyponutrition screening. Although they may be effective, under other circumstances, such as ambulatory patients, studies with an adequate methodology are necessary in order to adopt clinical decisions based on evidence and cost analysis.

Palabras clave : Enteral nutrition; Costs; Oral nutritional supplements; Diabetes; Cancer.

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