A real-world study of the effect of timing of insulin initiation on outcomes in older Medicare beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Rituparna Bhattacharya, Steve Zhou, Wenhui Wei, Mayank Ajmera, Usha Sambamoorthi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives To compare clinical and economic outcomes of early insulin initiation with those of delayed initiation in older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Humana Medicare Advantage health insurance plan. Participants Older (≥65) Medicare beneficiaries with T2DM. Measurements Subjects were grouped according to number of classes of oral antidiabetes drugs (OADs) they had taken before initiation of insulin: one (early insulin initiators), two, or three or more (delayed insulin initiators). One-year follow-up outcomes included change in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), percentage of older adults with HbA1c less than 8.0%, hypoglycemic events, and total healthcare costs. Results Overall, 14,669 individuals were included in the analysis. Baseline and 1-year follow-up HbA1c levels were available for 4,028 (27.5%) individuals. Insulin was initiated early in 32% and delayed in 20%. At follow-up, unadjusted reduction in HbA1c was 0.9 ± 3.7% for the group with one OAD, 0.7 ± 2.4% for those with two, and 0.5 ± 3.6% for those with three or more. Early insulin initiation was associated with significantly greater reduction in HbA1c (0.4%; adjusted P <.001), 30% greater likelihood of achieving HbA1c less than 8.0% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.30, 95% confidence interval = 1.18-1.43), and no significant differences in total costs or hypoglycemia events (11.5% of early initiators vs 10.2% of delayed initiators; P =.32). Conclusion This study suggests beneficial effects of early insulin initiation in older adults with T2DM who do not have adequate glycemic control, without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia or greater total direct healthcare costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-901
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume63
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2015

Keywords

  • delayed insulin initiation
  • diabetes
  • early insulin initiation
  • hypoglycemia

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