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Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Dec;23(12):3105-12.

Barriers to the initiation of, and persistence with, insulin therapy.

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Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, USA.



Many patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) delay and/or discontinue the use of insulin. This study determined patient-perceived barriers to the initiation of, and persistence with, insulin therapy.


Patients > or = 18 years with Type 2 DM and > or = 1 elevated HbA(1c) test result (> or = 9%) were identified from computerized laboratory test results within a single healthcare system, a study limitation. Insulin use patterns were characterized by automated pharmacy claims data, and patients were classified into those who discontinued insulin use (discontinuers) or those who did not initiate insulin use (non-initiators). Telephone interviews were conducted to determine the barriers to initiation of, and persistence with, insulin therapy.


Response rates were 80.0% (73/91) for discontinuers and 82.0% (129/157) for non-initiators. Pharmacy claims data indicated that discontinuers stopped filling prescriptions for insulin; 46.6% of patients self-reported discontinuing insulin. The average time between first and last prescription for insulin among discontinuers was 4.9 years (SD = 4.4). The most common reasons for discontinuation were related to insulin injection (74.0%) and a doctor's advice not to use insulin (47.1%). In the non-initiator group, 86.1% were never advised by a healthcare provider to take insulin.


These findings suggest that issues related to insulin injection are the primary reason patients with Type 2 DM discontinue insulin therapy. Understanding these patterns is important to develop interventions to overcome barriers to treatment and improve the medical outcomes of patients with Type 2 DM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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