Objective: To compare the persistence (treatment duration) of basal insulin supported oral therapy (BOT) using insulin glargine (GLA) or NPH insulin (NPH) in Type-2 diabetic patients.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study reports results from an analysis of claims data from prescriptions for ambulatory patients within the German Statutory Health Insurance scheme. The study is based on claims data from more than 80% of German community pharmacies. Treatment duration until switching to a basal bolus treatment regimen (intensified conventional insulin therapy: ICT) was determined in insulin-naïve patients who began treatment with BOT using GLA or NPH between 01/2003 and 12/2006.
Results: A total of 97,998 patients (61,070 GLA and 36,928 NPH) were included. Within the observation period, 23.5% of GLA patients and 28.0% of NPH patients switched from BOT to ICT. The upper quartile of probability of continuation of therapy (the 75th percentile) was reached after 769 days in GLA patients and after 517 days in NPH patients. Therefore, the risk of switching to ICT was significantly higher with NPH compared to GLA: hazard ratios were 1.34 (99% CI: 1.29-1.38; unadjusted) and 1.22 (99% CI: 1.18-1.27) after adjustment for predefined covariates. Various sensitivity analyses using modified inclusion criteria and endpoint definitions were applied and these confirmed the initial results.
Conclusion: Type-2 diabetic patients under BOT with GLA stayed significantly longer on the initial therapy before switching to ICT than patients on BOT using NPH.