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1.  The consequences of delaying insulin initiation in UK type 2 diabetes patients failing oral hyperglycaemic agents: a modelling study 
Background
Recent data have shown that type 2 diabetes patients in the UK delay initiating insulin on average for over 11 years after first being prescribed an oral medication. Using a published computer simulation model of diabetes we used UK-specific data to estimate the clinical consequences of immediately initiating insulin versus delaying initiation for periods in line with published estimates.
Methods
In the base case scenario simulated patients, with characteristics based on published UK data, were modelled as either initiating insulin immediately or delaying for 8 years. Clinical outcomes in terms of both life expectancy and quality-adjusted life expectancy and also diabetes-related complications (cumulative incidence and time to onset) were projected over a 35 year time horizon. Treatment effects associated with insulin use were taken from published studies and sensitivity analyses were performed around time to initiation of insulin, insulin efficacies and hypoglycaemia utilities.
Results
For patients immediately initiating insulin there were increases in (undiscounted) life expectancy of 0.61 years and quality-adjusted life expectancy of 0.34 quality-adjusted life years versus delaying initiation for 8 years. There were also substantial reductions in cumulative incidence and time to onset of all diabetes-related complications with immediate versus delayed insulin initiation. Sensitivity analyses showed that a reduced delay in insulin initiation or change in insulin efficacy still demonstrated clinical benefits for immediate versus delayed initiation.
Conclusion
UK type 2 diabetes patients are at increased risk of a large number of diabetes-related complications due to an unnecessary delay in insulin initiation. Despite clear guidelines recommending tight glycaemic control this failure to begin insulin therapy promptly is likely to result in needlessly reduced life expectancy and compromised quality of life.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-9-19
PMCID: PMC2761913  PMID: 19804622

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