MINNEAPOLIS, SAN DIEGO and INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Despite the introduction of a range of new diabetes treatments in recent years, results from a nationwide survey released today showed that more than 50 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes describe their health as "poor" or "fair," and more than 25 percent say that their health has worsened during the past year. The International Diabetes Center (IDC), Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company sponsored the survey, which polled more than 600 patients with diabetes and more than 400 primary care physicians (PCPs) in the United States. The findings from both patients and physicians underscore the desire and need for new therapies to help control blood sugar. These same results suggest that such therapies should ideally minimize side effects associated with other diabetes treatments, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and weight gain.
These and other findings from the survey demonstrate that both patients with type 2 diabetes and their healthcare providers feel they lack the tools needed to successfully treat and manage diabetes over time.(i) Improving these tools -- and improving control of diabetes -- can significantly limit the devastating consequences of poor glucose control. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. If not managed carefully over time, the disease can lead to such complications as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputations.
"We know that a significant fraction of type 2 diabetes patients in this country have inadequate blood sugar control," said Dr. Richard Bergenstal, executive director at IDC in Minneapolis, Minn. "We conducted this survey to shed some light on why these patients are having difficulty managing their diabetes using currently available treatments. We also hoped to shed light on how we might solve this problem."
Getting the Right Treatment
According to both physicians and patients, there is a need for new diabetes medications that can help control blood sugar without causing weight gain. Eighty-eight percent of patients and 92 percent of physicians surveyed felt there was a need for better treatment options. Sixty percent of patients said they would be interested in trying new diabetes medications, while 62 percent of physicians said that they would prescribe new diabetes medications as soon as they became available.
The vast majority of diabetes patients (86 percent) would like to make an improvement to their current diabetes regimen. Based on the survey findings, physicians are more amenable to changing treatment regimens when needed, but may be overestimating patients' fear of needles. Eighty-seven percent of physicians said that their patients are afraid of needles; however, only 36 percent of patients expressed such a fear.
"Treating diabetes is a full-time commitment that requires a significant support system for the patient. Doctors, nurses, family members and friends all play crucial roles in helping patients manage the disease," said Dr. Bergenstal. "A variety of treatment options is also crucial. There is no simple solution to this complex disease."
Lifestyle, Weight Gain and the Diabetes Patient
Despite the fact that 45 percent of patients surveyed were obese and virtually all patients acknowledged that diet and exercise is important to managing diabetes, the survey confirmed that diet and exercise alone are not successfully incorporated into their management regimen.
In addition, both patients and physicians expressed frustration with the weight gain that occurs with the use of several popular diabetes therapies. In fact, about three in five patients are somewhat dissatisfied with weight gain due to their current diabetes medication.
Communicating So It Counts
Controlling type 2 diabetes requires more than just making lifestyle changes and taking medication. Effective patient-doctor communication is also necessary.(ii) While the survey found that regular discussions about a patient's disease management plan and goals were highly valued by both providers and their patients, there appeared to be several gaps in communication during these conversations.
Ninety-nine percent of the physicians surveyed said they give their typical patient with type 2 diabetes target hemoglobin A1C (A1C) level, which is a measure of a person's average blood sugar over a three-month period. However 37 percent of patients stated that their physicians have never told them what their A1C target should be.
More than 80 percent of physicians said that they bring up changing their patients' diabetes management plan. However a little more than a third of patients (37 percent) said they have never discussed changing their plan with their physician or healthcare provider.
Dr. Bergenstal explained, "There is a balance between informing your patients and burdening them with too much information. The complicated nature of many diabetes treatment regimens makes it difficult to assess what information patients need to empower them to manage the disease most effectively."
What It All Means
In terms of how this data can be most effective, Dr. Bergenstal from IDC stated, "These survey findings shed light on how we as health care professionals can better connect with our patients. Knowing how they feel about their diabetes control and understanding their preferences can help them manage their disease more effectively. These results show us the importance of clear communication between patients and their doctors. These discussions will allow patients to set realistic goals and talk to their providers about the most effective medications for their diabetes. Clearly patients are seeking safer, more effective therapies -- that not only control blood sugar levels but also limit the risk of weight gain and hypoglycemia."
Diabetes therapies are evolving, and new advances may help patients and physicians manage the condition. As researchers continue to explore diabetes physiology and patient needs, more pharmaceutical possibilities will be identified and developed to help people with type 2 diabetes get control over the disease.
Harris Interactive conducted two online surveys on behalf of the International Diabetes Center which were underwritten by Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company.
Between Sept. 6 and 20, 2005, Harris Interactive surveyed 636 U.S. adults aged 18 and over who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by a health care provider. The data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population age with type 2 diabetes on the basis of age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, region, and propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus six percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population aged 18 and over with type 2 diabetes had been polled with complete accuracy. Sampling error for the sub-samples of Hispanics and African Americans varies and is higher. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Harris Interactive also conducted a companion survey from Sept. 6 to 9, 2005, among 409 U.S. primary care physicians (PCPs) who see at least one patient with type 2 diabetes per month. These data were weighted based on years in practice within gender and region using targets for PCPs in general. Since 97 percent of the primary care physicians responding to this survey met the additional qualification of seeing at least one patient with type 2 diabetes per month, the population of PCPs interviewed for this study is considered to be quite similar to the general populations of PCPs, and thus are weighted to targets for that group. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus six percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. population of PCPs had been polled with complete accuracy. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Sampling error is determined by sample size and by a design effect due to weighting. Weighting ensures that the data collected is representative of the total population, in this case physicians and type 2 diabetes patients. Also, while sampling error applies to the total sample, in specific cases where the question is asked of a subset of respondents, the sampling error will vary.
International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet provides world-class diabetes care, education and clinical research to meet the needs of people with diabetes, their families and the health professionals who care for them. Located in Minneapolis, the center is recognized internationally for its range of clinical and educational programs, products and services. International Diabetes Center is part of Park Nicollet Institute, a division of Park Nicollet Health Services. For more information, visit www.internationaldiabetescenter.com.
About Amylin and Lilly
Amylin Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company committed to improving lives through the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative medicines. Further information on Amylin Pharmaceuticals, its marketed products, and its pipeline in metabolism is available at www.amylin.com.
Through a long-standing commitment to diabetes care, Lilly provides patients with breakthrough treatments that enable them to live longer, healthier and fuller lives. Since 1923, Lilly has been the industry leader in pioneering therapies to help health care professionals improve the lives of people with diabetes, and research continues on innovative medicines to address the unmet needs of patients. For more information about Lilly's current diabetes products visit www.lillydiabetes.com.
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com. P-LLY
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com) is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, perhaps best known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York-based global research company blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application, conducting proprietary and public research globally to help clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
Blending science and art, Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital and one of the world's largest online panels of respondents, with premier Internet survey technology and sophisticated research methods to market leadership through its US, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary, Novatris in Paris (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
(i) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2005.
(ii) CDC, National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2005.
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