Trends in HbA1c thresholds for initiation of hypoglycemic agents: Impact of changed recommendations for older and frail patients

Martina Ambroz*, Sieta Vries, de, Klaas Hoogenberg, Petra Denig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Aims: Less strict glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) thresholds have been recommended in older and/or frail type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients than in younger and less frail patients for initiating hypoglycemic agents since 2011. We aimed to assess trends in HbA1c thresholds at initiation of a first hypoglycemic agent(s) in T2D patients and the influence of age and frailty on these trends. Materials and methods: The groningen initiative to analyze type 2 diabetes treatment (GIANTT) database was used, which includes primary care T2D patients from the north of the Netherlands. Patients initiating a first non-insulin hypoglycemic agent(s) between 2008 and 2014 with an HbA1c measurement within 120 days before initiation were included. The influence of calendar year, age, or frailty and the interaction between calendar year and age or frailty were assessed using multilevel regression analyses adjusted for confounders. Results: We included 4588 patients. The mean HbA1c threshold at treatment initiation was 7.4% up to 2010, decreasing to 7.1% in 2011 and increasing to 7.4% in 2014. This quadratic change over the years was significant (P < 0.001). Patients aged 60 to 79 initiated treatments at lower HbA1c and patients of different frailty at similar HbA1c levels. The interaction between year and age or frailty was not significant (P > 0.05). Conclusions: HbA1c thresholds at initiation of a first hypoglycemic agent(s) changed significantly over time, showing a decrease after 2010 and an increase after 2012. The HbA1c threshold at initiation was not influenced by age or frailty, which is in contrast with recommendations for more personalized treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalPharmcoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021

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