Despite innovations in therapy, little is known about patterns and costs of drug treatments of diabetes mellitus. In this article, researchers used the National Disease and Therapeutic Index to analyze medications prescribed between 1994 and 2007 for all U.S. office visits among patients 35 years and older with type 2 diabetes.
- The estimated number of patient visits for treated diabetes increased from 25 million in 1994 to 36 million by 2007.
- The average number of diabetes medications per treated patient increased from 1.14 in 1994 to 1.63 in 2007.
- Insulin use decreased from 38 percent of treatment visits in 1994 to a low of 25 percent in 2000 and then increased to 28 percent in 2007.
The article finds that increasingly complex and costly diabetes treatments are being applied to an increasing population. The magnitude of these rapid changes raises concerns about whether these more costly therapies will result in proportionately improved outcomes.