Physician Reasons for Nonpharmacologic Treatment of Hyperglycemia in Older Patients Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Global Health Outcomes, WS2E85, 1 Merck Drive, Whitehouse Station, NJ, 08889, USA, .
Diabetes Therapy 11/2012; 3(1):5. DOI: 10.1007/s13300-012-0005-8
Source: PubMed


To identify reasons why primary care physicians (PCPs) do not treat older patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with antihyperglycemic agents following diagnosis.
US PCPs were surveyed via the internet regarding their reasons for not treating patients aged >65 years diagnosed with T2DM and had not yet initiated antihyperglycemic therapy for ≥6 months after diagnosis. PCPs were requested to provide relevant clinical information for untreated older patients and select applicable reasons for not initiating treatment from a list of 35 possibilities, grouped into five categories.
A total of 508 PCPs completed the online survey and provided complete clinical data for 770 patients. The reasons provided by the first-ranked physician for not initiating antihyperglycemic therapy were related to diet and exercise (57.5%); mild hyperglycemia (23.8%); patient's concerns (13.4%); concerns about antihyperglycemic agents (3.0%); and comorbidities and polypharmacy (2.3%). The "diet and exercise" category was the most common first-ranked non-treatment reason, regardless of recent hemoglobin A(1c) (HbA(1c)) stratum. Reasons within the "patient's concerns," "concerns related to antihyperglycemic agents," and "comorbidities and polypharmacy" categories tended to be selected more often as first-ranked reasons by physicians for patients with higher HbA(1c) values. Of the 158 patients whose physicians planned to initiate antihyperglycemic therapy within the next month, 54.4% already had a most recent HbA(1c) value above their physician-stated threshold for treatment initiation.
In the PCPs studied, there was a tendency to select appropriate reasons for non-treatment with antihyperglycemic agents given their patients' glycemic status. However, there was inertia related to the initiation of pharmacological therapy in some older patients with newly diagnosed T2DM. Important factors included physicians' perceptions of "mild" hyperglycemia and the HbA(1c) threshold for using antihyperglycemic agents.

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