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Medication burden in the first 5 years following diagnosis of type 2 diabetes: findings from the ADDITION-UK trial cohort
  1. James A Black1,
  2. Rebecca K Simmons1,
  3. Clare E Boothby1,
  4. Melanie J Davies2,
  5. David Webb2,
  6. Kamlesh Khunti2,
  7. Gráinne H Long1,
  8. Simon J Griffin1
  1. 1MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Simon J Griffin; simon.griffin{at}


Introduction Individuals with screen-detected diabetes are likely to receive intensified pharmacotherapy to improve glycaemic control and general cardiometabolic health. Individuals are often asymptomatic, and little is known about the degree to which polypharmacy is present both before, and after diagnosis. We aimed to describe and characterize the pharmacotherapy burden of individuals with screen-detected diabetes at diagnosis, 1 and 5 years post-diagnosis.

Methods The prescription histories of 1026 individuals with screen-detected diabetes enrolled in the ADDITION-UK trial of the promotion of intensive treatment were coded into general medication types at diagnosis, 1 and 5 years post-diagnosis. The association between change in the count of several medication types and age, baseline 10-year UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) cardiovascular disease (CVD risk), sex, intensive treatment group and number of medications was explored.

Results Just under half of individuals were on drugs unrelated to cardioprotection before diagnosis (42%), and this increased along with a rise in the number of prescribed diabetes-related and cardioprotective drugs. The medication profile over the first 5 years suggests multimorbidity and polypharmacy is present in individuals with screen-detected diabetes. Higher modeled CVD risk at baseline was associated with a greater increase in cardioprotective and diabetes-related medication, but not an increase in other medications.

Conclusion As recommended in national guidelines, our results suggest that treatment of diabetes was influenced by the underlying risk of CVD. While many individuals did not start glucose lowering and cardioprotective therapies in the first 5 years after diagnosis, more information is required to understand whether this represents unmet need, or patient-centered care.

Trial registration number CNT00237549.

  • Medication
  • Screening

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