Among patients with cancer, researchers found a high prevalence of non-adherence to oral antidiabetic medications and negative consequences tied with non-adherence. Findings from the study are published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics

Researchers conducted a retrospective study to assess oral antidiabetic drug use and related health outcomes in non-elderly American adults with cancer. They analyzed the Marketscan Commercial Claims and Encounters database from 2008–2009. Patients with concomitant diagnoses type 2 diabetes and breast, prostate, colon or lung cancer who were treated with oral antidiabetics were included. Medication adherence was measured using the Medication Possession Ratio (MPR); logistic regression was used to assess factors linked with non-adherence. 

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Of the total 1,918 diabetic, cancer patients who were initiated on oral antidiabetics, only 37.6% were adherent. Likewise, a similar proportion of adherence was found in the non-cancer control population (35.8%; P=0.24). Factors such as younger age, living in the southern region, using combination therapy vs. monotherapy, and using retail vs. mail order pharmacy were significantly associated with non-adherence in patients with cancer. 

Adherence to oral antidiabetics was associated with 24% less all-cause hospitalization (P=0.02), the authors added. Overall, study findings highlight the importance of developing intervention strategies to improve diabetes management and treatment outcomes among diabetic cancer patients.

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