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1.  Factors associated with initiation of antihyperglycaemic medication in UK patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes 
To assess the factors associated with antihyperglycaemic medication initiation in UK patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
In a retrospective cohort study, patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were identified during the index period of 2003-2005. Eligible patients were ≥ 30 years old at the date of the first observed diabetes diagnosis (referred to as index date) and had at least 2 years of follow-up medical history (N = 9,158). Initiation of antihyperglycaemic medication (i.e., treatment) was assessed in the 2-year period following the index date. Adjusted Cox regression models were used to examine the association between time to medication initiation and patient age and other factors.
Mean (SD) HbA1c at diagnosis was 8.1% (2.3). Overall, 51% of patients initiated antihyperglycaemic medication within 2 years (65%, 55%, 46% and 40% for patients in the 30- < 45, 45- < 65, 65- < 75, 75+ age groups, respectively). Among the treated patients, median (25th, 75th percentile) time to treatment initiation was 63 (8, 257) days. Of the patients with HbA1c ≥ 7.5% at diagnosis, 87% initiated treatment within 2 years. These patients with a higher HbA1c also had shorter time to treatment initiation (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.44 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.61, 3.70]; p < 0.0001). Increasing age (in years) was negatively associated with time to treatment initiation (HR = 0.98 [95% CI: 0.97, 0.99]; p < 0.001). Factors significantly associated with shorter time to treatment initiation included female gender and use of cardiovascular medications at baseline or initiated during follow up.
In this UK cohort of patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, only 51% had antihyperglycaemic medication initiated over a 2-year period following diagnosis. Older patients were significantly less likely to have been prescribed antihyperglycaemic medications. Elevated HbA1c was the strongest factor associated with initiating antihyperglycaemic medication in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3353844  PMID: 22397700
Clinical inertia; Age; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Antihyperglycaemic medication
2.  Impact of UK Medical Eligibility Criteria implementation on prescribing of combined hormonal contraceptives 
Combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) are the most widely prescribed contraceptive methods in the UK; however, their use is associated with significant cardiovascular risk for women with some medical conditions and risk factors. The objective of this study was to assess the potential change in CHC prescribing among higher-risk women following publication of the UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (UKMEC) in 2006.
A cross-sectional study was conducted using the General Practice Research Database to analyse UK women aged 15–49 years who were prescribed CHCs during the period 2004–2010. Of women prescribed CHCs, those at higher risk of cardiovascular events (with UKMEC Category 3 or 4 risk factors) were identified. The percentage of higher-risk CHC users, among all CHC users, in 2005 (pre-UKMEC) was compared to that in 2010 (post-UKMEC).
The percentage of higher-risk CHC users significantly decreased by 0.8% (95% CI 0.68% to 1.02%) following publication of UKMEC [8.1% (95% CI 7.98% to 8.22%) in 2005 vs 7.3% (95% CI 7.14% to 7.38%) in 2010; p<0.001]. However, an estimated 1 74 472 women in the UK were prescribed CHCs in 2010 despite having Category 3 or 4 risk factors. The most common Category 3 or 4 risk factors were body mass index ≥35 kg/m2, hypertension and smoking in women aged ≥35 years.
Despite the observed reduction in prescribing of CHCs to higher-risk women after publication of UKMEC, a large number of women with Category 3 or 4 risk factors are still prescribed CHCs. The increased risk of cardiovascular events is unnecessary for many of these women given the availability of alternative contraceptive methods.
PMCID: PMC3711363  PMID: 23299629
hormonal contraception; oral contraceptives; family planning service provision; cardiovascular diseases; obesity; smoking

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