More than one in three diabetes patients skip doses or fail to take their insulin as prescribed, a new global survey finds.

Novo Nordisk, diabetes patients, insulin, GAPP survey, Global Attitudes of Patients and Physicians in Insulin Therapy, blood glucose targets, insulin doses, manage blood sugar, insulin therapy, Luigi Meneghini, Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine,

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Survey: Third of diabetes patients veer from insulin regimen

September 22nd, 2010

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – More than one in three diabetes patients skip doses or fail to take their insulin as prescribed, a new global survey finds.

What's more, patients who didn't take their insulin stated that they have done so three times in the last month, on average, and 77% of doctors estimate that this number actually could be as high as six doses, according to the Global Attitudes of Patients and Physicians in Insulin Therapy (GAPP) survey, released Tuesday by Novo Nordisk.

The global poll, conducted in eight nations (including the United States) among with nearly 3,000 respondents, also found that 88% of physicians report that a significant percentage of patients are still not reaching blood glucose targets, and four in 10 people with diabetes say they struggle to effectively control their blood sugar.

Novo Nordisk noted that the results are in line with earlier research showing that, globally, less than half of people with diabetes reach an optimal level of health and quality of life.

In the survey, patients and doctors cited change in normal routines, being too busy or simply forgetting to take the insulin as the chief reasons for patients' missing their insulin doses.

More than half of physicians agree that their patients find it hard to comply with their regimens, particularly managing the number of injections and the strict time constraints of some regimens. These findings are supported by previous research indicating that fewer than one in five people with diabetes (19.4% of those with type 1 diabetes and 16.2% of those with type 2 diabetes) fully complied with all aspects of their prescribed regimens.

Fear of hypoglycemia is another key factor that may contribute to poor glycemic control, according to the study. About 67% of patients taking insulin are concerned about experiencing a hypoglycemic event in the future. Doctors share patients' concerns, with 74% stating that they would treat closer to recommended targets if it weren't for fear of major hypoglycemic events.

The survey also revealed that nine in 10 patients wish there was an insulin that could be dosed less than once a day and effectively manage blood sugar, and 67% of them feel that diabetes has controlled their life since starting insulin. At the same time, a third of doctors are dissatisfied with current regimens' ability to fit into patient lifestyles.

"The GAPP survey was designed to uncover the challenges patients and physicians are facing in obtaining effective outcomes in insulin therapy, and it appears that busy lifestyles and difficulty in adhering to prescribed regimens are key contributing factors to poor glycemic control," comments professor Luigi Meneghini, associate director at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "These results are consistent across countries, and it is encouraging to see that physicians understand and empathize with the issues people with diabetes face."

In the GAPP study, independent research analysts conducted a 20-minute quantitative survey among 2,780 respondents in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France, China, Japan and Turkey. The respondents included 1,250 physicians and 1,530 insulin-using diabetes patients. The survey was funded by Novo Nordisk and supported by an international panel of diabetes experts.