Blog Nearly 40% of Type 2 Diabetes Patients Stop Secondary Medications Within a Year. 

Nearly 40% of Type 2 Diabetes Patients Stop Secondary Medications Within a Year. 

Almost 40% of individuals with type 2 diabetes discontinue their secondary medications within a year, highlighting challenges in long-term glycemic control, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Managed Care (Source: Medical News Today).

The research, analyzing 82,000 people with type 2 diabetes between 2014 and 2017, reveals that two-thirds of individuals with type 2 diabetes either stopped, switched, or changed the dosage of their medication within 12 months of prescription.

The discontinuation rate was particularly high for those taking glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), a medication class designed to treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Marilyn Tan, an endocrinologist and clinical associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, notes that the rates of discontinuation aren’t surprising and cites busy schedules, a high pill burden, medication side effects, perceived lack of efficacy, and costs as reasons for patients struggling with adherence.

The study points out that 77% of people with type 2 diabetes are initially prescribed metformin for treatment, but many require secondary medications for long-term glycemic control.

Researchers emphasize the need for better prescribing approaches and understanding the barriers patients face to reduce wasted time, clinician resources, and healthcare system costs.

Among the medications studied, GLP-1 RAs like Ozempic had a higher discontinuation rate of 50%, possibly due to gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as cost considerations and the method of drug administration.

David Liss, PhD, a co-author of the study and a research associate professor of general internal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, emphasizes the importance of addressing discontinuation issues to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare system expenses.

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