Treatment Deintensification Is Uncommon in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Retrospective Cohort Study

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Whether treatment deintensification in Americans with diabetes mellitus varies by glycemic control, health status, and calendar year (before/after February 2008 when safety concerns about intensive glucose control were reported in the ACCORD trial [Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes]) is unclear.

Methods and Results—

We defined deintensification as discontinuation or dosage decrease of at least 1 glycemic medication without addition of, or uptitration of, another agent in the 120 days after the index glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) measurement. Of 99 694 individuals (mean age 54 years) in this retrospective cohort study being actively treated for new diabetes mellitus (50% 1 drug, 33% 2 drugs, and 17% ≥3 drugs), 12 921 (13.0%) had HbA1C <6% after 1 year, 19 670 (19.7%) had HbA1C 6.0% to 6.4%, 35 012 (35.1%) had HbA1C 6.5% to 7.5%, and 32 091 (32.2%) had HbA1C >7.5%. Glycemic therapy was deintensified in 18.3% of patients (21.2% of frail patients, 19.4% of those with multiple comorbidities, and 17.7% of otherwise healthy patients) with no gradient across glycemia levels (20.6% of those with HbA1C<6%, 17.3% of those with HbA1C 6.0%–6.4%, 17.7% of those with HbA1C 6.5%–7.5%, and 18.6% of those with HbA1C>7.5%). Similar proportions were seen even after exclusion of 26 985 patients being treated with metformin monotherapy: 23.3%, 20.4%, 20.3%, and 20% across the HbA1C strata. Therapy was deintensified in 22.5% of patients with index HbA1C <6.0% before February 2008 compared with 19.5% after (P<0.001).


Among frail patients or those with multiple comorbidities, over three quarters with low HbA1C did not have their glycemic therapy deintensified, even after safety concerns were raised in the ACCORD trial.

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