Patient Willingness to Take Action in Diabetes Treatment


Surveys show patients more willing to seek more aggressive treatment than physicians realize.

Two online surveys revealed that adults with type 2 diabetes are much more willing to take action to reach their targeted A1C faster compared with what physicians and other medical professionals initially perceived.

The Perspective in Diabetes Care surveys polled 1000 adults living with type 2 diabetes, and were diagnosed 1 to 5 years prior. Additionally, 1004 physicians (endocrinologists and primary care physicians) and other medical professionals (nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists) in the United States were also surveyed.

The results of the survey showed that 57% of adults with type 2 diabetes were very willing to see their physicians and other medical professionals more often, while only 19% of physicians and medical professionals believed they would be willing to do so. In regards to making multiple medication changes, 52% of adult type 2 diabetes patients would be very willing to do so, but only 16% of physicians and other medical professionals believed they would be willing to make these changes.

The gap between these perceptions may play a role in the amount of time it takes patients to achieve their targets. Authors noted that the implications could be significant, because more than 42% of surveyed patients had yet to achieve their targets, while 77% of participants wanted to achieve their target more quickly.

“The disconnect uncovered by these surveys illustrates that patients are frustrated by not achieving their A1C target and are willing to accelerate the treatment process if it means reaching it more quickly,” said George Grunberger, MD, FACP, FACE, Immediate Past President, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). “Physicians should ensure they are effectively addressing patients’ therapeutic goals when it comes to determining treatment plans, and recognize that for certain patients, early and intensive treatment — in accordance with the AACE diabetes guidelines and algorithm, which recommend re-evaluating patients every 3 months and intensifying diabetes treatment if their A1C is not at target – is the appropriate approach.”

The frustration levels of respondents yet to achieve their A1C target doubled after 1 year of treatment compared with 3 months of treatment, according to the study. Among the respondents, 22% stopped taking their diabetes medication without talking to their physician or other medical professional first.

Of these participants, more than one-third (38%) reported they discontinued their medication because they were not reaching their individual A1C target fast enough.

“These findings demonstrate the importance of ensuring the patients, physicians, and other medical professionals are collaboratively addressing the challenges that exist in reaching as well as maintain glycemic control, and considering different approaches where appropriate,” said Chris Kaplan, North America Region Head, Diabetes & Cardiovascular Business Unit, Sanofi. “Our collaboration with AACE underscores our commitment to the clinicians who treat patients with diabetes and addressing their unmet needs.”

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