Number of non‐diabetic drugs: a simple comorbidity indicator for diabetes?
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Introduction: The number of non‐diabetic drugs, taken by a patient with diabetes at any one point in time, has been validated in previous studies as a comorbidity indicator.Aim: The aim of the paper is to examine the relationship between this comorbidity indicator and health status in people with Type 2 diabetes.Method: The analysis presented is from a prospective cohort study of people with Type 2 diabetes before and after commencing insulin therapy, with simultaneous collection of health status, clinical and other comparative data. Results: Of the 48 people for whom both health status and drug data were available, 26 (54%) were taking at least one non‐diabetic drug and 16 (33%) were taking 3 or more non‐diabetic drugs, at the baseline assessment. There were no significant relationships between the number of non‐diabetic drugs taken, and age, duration of diabetes or baseline HbA1c measurements. However, there were statistically significant relationships between the number of non‐diabetic drugs and health status, in terms of depression and physical function.Conclusion: Drug data are routinely recorded in primary care and therefore the number of non‐diabetic drugs is a potentially widely available indicator. This indicator could be a useful, simple addition to datasets that not only proxies comorbidity but also relates to patients' physical function and depression status.
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