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Patients with diabetes and depression are less likely to achieve goals for glucose control

Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347

People with diabetes have almost twice the risk of becoming depressed compared with the general public. A new study found that depression can interfere with their ability to reach the recommended goals for control of their glucose (blood sugar).

Researchers examined the responses of 1,223 adult patients with diabetes who completed a survey that included two questions about depression-related symptoms. The researchers also reviewed the patients' medical records and insurance claims to determine medication use and clinical care obtained.

During the previous month, 471 (38.5 percent) reported symptoms of depression. Although no relationship was found between depression and blood sugar (A1c) testing rates, those with depression symptoms were less likely to be at their A1c goal (43 percent) compared with patients without depressive symptoms (50 percent). However, treatment with antidepressant medication increased their ability to achieve their glucose goals. The researchers also found a reduced rate of LDL cholesterol testing (56 percent) for those with depression compared with those without the condition (68 percent). However, treatment for depression had no impact on achieving lipid goals.

According to the research team, physicians who identify depression in their patients with diabetes must also consider how depression will affect the patient's ability to manage their diabetes, particularly when it comes to reaching personal clinical goals. The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS09946).

See "Depression in patients with diabetes: Does it impact clinical goals?" by William A. Rush, Ph.D., Robin R. Whitebird, Ph.D., Monica R. Rush, B.S., and others in the September/October 2008 Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 21, pp. 392-397.

Current as of July 2009
Internet Citation: Patients with diabetes and depression are less likely to achieve goals for glucose control: Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.