Large Increase in Insulin Use Over Past Decade

Over the study period there was widespread adoption of insulin analogs.
Over the study period there was widespread adoption of insulin analogs.

From 2000 to 2010 there was a large increase in the use of insulin analogs among privately insured patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on diabetes.

Kasia J. Lipska, M.D., from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues analyzed data from the Optum Labs Data Warehouse, an administrative claims database of privately insured enrollees from throughout the United States. The authors identified adults aged 18 years or older with type 2 diabetes and at least two years of continuous plan enrollment between January 2000 and September 2010.

The researchers found that, over the study period, 123,486 patients filled at least one prescription for insulin, comprising 9.7 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes in 2000 and 15.1 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes in 2010 (P = 0.001).

Of those who used insulin, 96.4 percent filled prescriptions for human synthetic insulin in 2000 and 14.8 percent in 2010 (P < 0.001), whereas 18.9 percent filled prescriptions for insulin analogs in 2000 and 91.5 percent in 2010 (P < 0.001). There was an increase in the median out-of-pocket costs per prescription for all types of insulin, from $19 in 2000 to $36 in 2010 (P < 0.001).

"Among privately insured adults in the United States, use of insulin among patients with type 2 diabetes increased from 10 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2010 in the context of widespread adoption of insulin analogs," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson.

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