Overcoming obstacles in risk factor management in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Author(s): Handelsman Y, Jellinger PS


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by progressively worsening hyperglycemia that leads to microvascular and macrovascular complications. Optimal management of T2DM aims to simultaneously control hyperglycemia, hypertension, and dyslipidemia to reduce the overall risk. However, a large proportion of patients in clinical practice do not reach treatment targets. Some of the obstacles to achieving treatment targets include high medication costs, costs associated with health insurance, poor patient adherence to medication, patient fear of potential adverse effects, improper patient education, and failure by health care providers to appropriately initiate or intensify therapy (clinical inertia). Possible causes of clinical inertia include the influence exerted on physicians by reluctant patients and the influence of media-driven attention and the negative spin of clinical trial results on physicians' prescribing behavior and on patients' attitudes towards treatment. This negative publicity can be disproportionate to the overall body of scientific evidence and may, therefore, prove to be unfounded in the long-term. There is clear evidence of the benefits of the effective management of T2DM to achieve goals. Overcoming the obstacles to achieving treatment targets may include use of strategies such as early intensive treatment and combination therapy with drugs with complementary mechanisms of action.

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