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  • Publication # 13-RA007

Trends in diabetes treatment suggest more multidrug regimens, resulting in high financial burden on persons with diabetes and their families

Chronic Disease

Over the last several years, the care and treatment of patients with diabetes has changed considerably with the introduction of new and more expensive drug therapies. The use of multidrug regimens has risen significantly in concert with these changes and patients with diabetes are increasingly spending more of their family income on health care, reveals a new study. AHRQ researchers Eric M. Sarpong, Ph.D., Didem M. Bernard, Ph.D., and G. Edward Miller, Ph.D., recently examined changes in diabetes care and the financial burden of treatment using data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey collected during 1997–1998 and 2006–2007.

They also identified nonelderly adults with diabetes and coexisting cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The researchers assessed drug use and expenditures and measured the family financial burden for diabetes care. Between the two time periods studied, the total number of nonelderly adults treated for diabetes nearly doubled, representing 5.7 percent of the total U.S. population in 2006–2007. The prevalence of treated coexisting conditions also grew significantly, including a tripling of lipid disorders. There was an increase in the use of multidrug regimens. The proportion of those using two or more oral drugs increased from 15.7 percent to 30.1 percent. In terms of family financial burden, approximately one-fifth of patients spent 10 percent or more of their income on health care. One in nine patients spent 20 percent or more. Higher financial burdens were experienced more by patients who were older, female, had poor health, or were uninsured. Such financial strain may result in inadequate treatment of some patients with diabetes.

More details are in "Changes in pharmaceutical treatment of diabetes and family financial burdens," by Drs. Sarpong, Bernard, and Miller, in the August 2012 Medical Care Research and Review 69(4), pp. 474-491. Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 12-R079) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.


Page last reviewed April 2013
Internet Citation: Trends in diabetes treatment suggest more multidrug regimens, resulting in high financial burden on persons with diabetes and their families: Chronic Disease. April 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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