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07-14-2021 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

Diabetes medication use, glycemic control little affected by pandemic in USA

Author: Eleanor McDermid


medwireNews: Use of diabetes medications and people’s glycemic control were not, overall, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite a reduction in other healthcare measures, say US researchers.

“The unprecedented increase in telemedicine visits we observe[d] during the pandemic, although unable to overcome the overall decrease in visits, may have prevented substantive disruptions in medication prescribing,” write Ateev Mehrotra (Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and study co-authors in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Among 1,357,029 adults with diabetes identified via Medicare Advantage health plans in 2018, just 0.3% had a telemedicine visit during the first 48 weeks of 2019. But among 1,364,522 identified in 2019 records, 29.1% had at least one telemedicine visit during the equivalent period in 2020.

The overall rate of any outpatient visit (in person or remote) was significantly lower in the pandemic period of 2020 (week 11 onward) versus the equivalent period of 2019, at 85.0% versus 87.3%, due to a large reduction in the early pandemic period.

By contrast, there was a smaller, but notable increase in medication fill rate in the early pandemic period of 2020, resulting in a small but significant increase from week 11 to 48 compared with 2019, at 64.2% versus 62.2%.

Average glycated hemoglobin levels were “nearly identical” during the pandemic period of both years, at 7.16% and 7.14% in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

This was despite a 6.5% fall in glycated hemoglobin testing, an 18.8% reduction in retinopathy testing, and an 8.5% decline in nephropathy testing in 2020 versus 2019.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

14 July 2021: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

JAMA Intern Med 2021; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3047


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This video has been developed through unrestricted educational funding from Abbott Diabetes Care.

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