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A third of T2D patients fail to take their medication

A third of T2D patients fail to take their medication

Publication date: Friday, 06 October 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

A new UK study shows that 37.8% of people with type 2 diabetes do not take their medications as prescribed.

A total of 8 observational studies that looked at the association between medication adherence and the risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality and hospitalisation were selected by independent reviewers following a detailed search of electronic databases. The selected studies included a total of 318,125 patients. Further analysis showed that people who stick to their prescribed treatments have a 10% lower risk of hospital visits and are 28% less likely to die than people who fail to take their medication. The mean rate of poor adherence was 37.8% (95% CI 37.6–38.0).

The study authors suggested the major reason for the poor adherence in these patients was poor support and a lack of explanation about side-effects. Failure to take medications as prescribed then contributes to an increase in medical issues and higher treatment costs.

Co-Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, Professor Kamlesh Khunti led the study and said: “Despite consistent improvements in the quality of care for diabetes in recent decades, it remains a constant challenge when it comes to premature death and unplanned hospital visits. Our findings should serve to reinforce to patients the importance of taking medications as prescribed, in order to avoid premature death and preventable admissions to hospital. This could lead to savings not only in terms of medications being prescribed and not used but also reduced hospital admissions and death.”


Good medication adherence is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality and hospitalization in people with type 2 diabetes. The study also highlights the potential for cost savings by encouraging adherence with diabetes therapy. Further high quality studies are required to examine the effectiveness of interventions to improve adherence in type 2 diabetes.

Khunti K, Seidu S, Kunutsor S, Davies M. Association between adherence to pharmacotherapy and outcomes in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2017; published online August.

Topics covered:
Category: Evidence in Practice
Edition: Volume 2 Number 10 PCCJ Online 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

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