Background: Since the mid-1990s, the development of new oral antidiabetic agents (OAs) and treatment guidelines have created an opportunity to improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Objectives: This study aimed to assess the prevalence of good and inadequate glycemic control across a 5-year period among patients with diabetes in the United Kingdom. It also investigated the factors associated with achieving glycemic targets.
Methods: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of data from the General Practice Research Database. Three limits were used to assess glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c): 6.5%, 7.0%, or 7.5%. Values above the cutoffs indicated inadequate control of HbA1c; those at or below the cutoffs indicated good control. The study evaluated clinical and pharmacy data from the years 1998 to 2002 for patients with type 2 diabetes, > or =2 years of follow-up, and > or =2 HbA1c measurements during the first year. Five independent cross-sectional analyses were conducted, grouping data by year. Statistical significance was determined by Student t and chi2 tests.
Results: Data were analyzed for 10,663 patients aged 17 to 98 years. The number of total eligible type 2 diabetes patients increased over the course of the study period: 5674 patients in 1998, 6553 in 1999, 7314 in 2000, 7323 in 2001, and 6192 in 2002. Overall, the study population had a mean (SD) age of 66 (11.0) years, was 53% male (3033/5674), and had a body mass index of 29 kg/m(2). Seventy-six percent of patients had HbA1c >7.0% and 37% were taking > or =2 oral agents. In 1998 and 2002, 79% (4482/5674) and 76% (4732/6192) of patients, respectively, had inadequate glycemic control, defined as HbA1c >7.0%. When defined as HbA1c >7.5%, 69% (3923/5674) and 62% (3814/6192) of patients, respectively, had inadequate control. Finally, when defined as HbA1c >6.5%, 88% (5011/5674) of patients in both 1998 and 2002 had inadequate control. Compared with patients with good disease control (HbA1c < or =7.0%), patients with inadequate control were approximately 2 years younger (P < 0.001) and had been prescribed more OAs: 41% received > or =2 OAs in 1998 and 52% in 2002, compared with 23% and 34% (both, P = 0.001), respectively, of patients with good glycemic control (P < 0.02). Sex, number of diabetes complications, and number of comorbidities did not differ between groups (P = NS).
Conclusions: Despite the introduction of new OAs and treatment guidelines, the prevalence of inadequate glycemic control remains high (>60%) in patients with type 2 diabetes in the United Kingdom. Regardless of the HbA1c cutoff, patients with inadequate control were younger and received prescriptions for more OAs than patients with good control.