‘Alarming’ number of patients stop type 2 diabetes treatment during year 1
medwireNews: Data presented at the ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, show that almost 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes stop treatment within 12 months of being diagnosed.
Lisa Latts, from IBM Watson Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, who presented the data, described the findings as “alarming.”
She said: “These are people that should be on a diabetes medication, whose doctor probably thinks they’re on a diabetes medication and they’re not taking it.”
The retrospective study included data for 324,136 adults (mean age 55 years, 46% women) from the Truven Health MarketScan® Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 2013 and 2016.
At diagnosis, the majority (68.4%) of patients were prescribed metformin. However, regardless of drug type, nearly one-third (31.4%) of patients had discontinued treatment, defined as at least 45 days without collecting a type 2 diabetes prescription, within 3 months.
This proportion increased to 43.8% within 6 months and 57.9% within 12 months.
Furthermore, less than half of patients (39.4%) who discontinued treatment within 12 months subsequently restarted it. The mean time spent without treatment among those who did restart therapy was 107 days.
Latts accepted that patients who obtain their medication from cheaper providers without claiming on their insurance could be misclassified as discontinued, but she added that insurance companies urge pharmacies to capture insurance details from these patients to avoid this.
She also emphasized that the findings are not generalizable to uninsured populations and may differ for patients with Medicare.
Latts concluded: “This study is showing real-world evidence that the majority of individuals prescribed type 2 diabetes medication discontinue within 1 year of initiation.
“This suggests that we need, as a society and as physicians, to take action to encourage individuals to stay on their medication, help figure out why they are stopping them, and decrease the barriers to staying on diabetes medication, to help improve peoples health in the long-term.”
By Laura Cowen
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