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From the Current Issue

New Research:
Skipping Diabetes Drugs Boosts Hospitalization Risk

People who need medication for their type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for hospitalization if they fail to take their drugs as prescribed, according to a new study.

Although glucose-lowering drugs, along with insulin, diet, and exercise, are mainstays of diabetes treatment, many patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, especially if they have no symptoms, the researchers note. They sought to determine whether nonadherence to medication among adults with type 2 diabetes increased their risk of hospitalization.

Adherence was defined as the number of days a patient had a supply of a particular medication, determined by when he or she refilled the prescription. Patients were defined as nonadherent if they had a supply of the medication less than 80% of the time.

The study included 900 men and women, nearly 46% of whom were taking several glucose-
lowering drugs. The researchers gauged participants’ medication adherence for 2000 and compared it with their likelihood of hospitalization in 2001.

About 29% of the patients were defined as nonadherent. These patients were two and a half times more likely to be hospitalized during the following year than those who refilled their diabetes medicines as prescribed.

Diabetes Care
Volume 27, page 2149
September 2004


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The Diabetes White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.



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