Pharmacological treatment initiation for type 2 diabetes in Australia: are the guidelines being followed? Academic Article uri icon


  • AIM:To determine the patterns and predictors of pharmacological treatment initiation for type 2 diabetes and whether treatment initiation is consistent with Australian clinical practice guidelines that recommend metformin monotherapy. METHODS:Individuals aged 40-99 years initiating a non-insulin type 2 diabetes medication between July 2013 and February 2018 were identified from a 10% random national sample of pharmacy dispensing data. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the predictors of initiating sulfonylurea monotherapy, non-guideline monotherapy and combination therapy compared with metformin monotherapy. Predictors included age, sex, initiation year and comorbidities determined using the Rx-Risk comorbidity index. RESULTS:Of the 47 860 initiators, [47% women, mean age 60.7 (sd 12.1) years], 85.8%, 4.6%, 1.9% and 7.7% received metformin monotherapy, sulfonylurea monotherapy, non-guideline monotherapy and combination therapy, respectively. Increasing age was associated with increasing odds of initiating sulfonylurea monotherapy and non-guideline monotherapy. Combination therapy initiation was less likely in women (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.69-0.79) and people with more comorbidities (e.g. OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.29-0.44 for seven or more comorbidities vs. no comorbidities) but more likely in congestive heart failure (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.22-1.65), cerebrovascular disease (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.32-1.69) and dyslipidaemia (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.19-1.40). CONCLUSION:Treatment initiation in Australia is largely consistent with clinical practice guidelines, with 86% of individuals initiating metformin monotherapy. Initiation on combination therapy was more common in men and in those with fewer comorbidities.

publication date

  • 2019