Deficits and Disparities in Early Uptake of Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists and SGLT2i Among Medicare-Insured Adults Following a New Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Disease or Heart Failure

Diabetes Care. 2023 Jan 1;46(1):65-74. doi: 10.2337/dc22-0383.


Objective: To examine the association of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic deprivation with initiation of guideline-recommended diabetes medications with cardiovascular benefit (glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists [GLP1-RA] and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors [SGLT2i]) among older adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and either incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) or congestive heart failure (CHF).

Research design and methods: Using Medicare data (2016-2019), we identified 4,057,725 individuals age >65 years with T2D and either incident ASCVD or CHF. We estimated incidence rates and hazard ratios (HR) of GLP1-RA or SGLT2i initiation within 180 days by race/ethnicity and zip code-level Social Deprivation Index (SDI) using adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: Incidence rates of GLP1-RA or SGLT2i initiation increased over time but remained low (<0.6 initiations per 100 person-months) in all years studied. Medication initiation was less common among those of Black or other race/ethnicity (HR 0.81 [95% CI 0.79-0.84] and HR 0.84 [95% CI 0.75-0.95], respectively) and decreased with increasing SDI (HR 0.96 [95% CI 0.96-0.97]). Initiation was higher in ASCVD than CHF (0.35 vs. 0.135 initiations per 100 person-months). Moderate (e.g., nephropathy, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) but not severe (e.g., advanced chronic kidney disease, cirrhosis) comorbidities were associated with higher probability of medication initiation.

Conclusions: Among older adults with T2D and either ASCVD or CHF, initiation of GLP1-RA or SGLT2i was low, suggesting a substantial deficit in delivery of guideline-recommended care or treatment barriers. Individuals of Black and other race/ethnicity and those with higher area-level socioeconomic deprivation were less likely to initiate these medications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Heart Failure* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Medicare
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Hypoglycemic Agents