Baltimore, MD, USA – High blood pressure affects about 70-80 percent of those with type 2 diabetes. To prevent complications associated with hypertension, such as heart attack, chronic kidney disease or blindness, in adults with diabetes, medical guidelines suggest tight blood pressure control, with prescription medications as a key treatment.
Researchers at the University of Maryland Schools of Nursing and Medicine, and University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy compared the differences in health services utilization and medical costs between those using medications to control blood pressure versus non-users [in adults with diabetes and a diagnosis of hypertension]. They found that 16 percent of the estimated 38.7 million non-institutionalized U.S. adults with diabetes and coexistent essential hypertension did not use blood pressure controlling (antihypertensive) medications during a two-year span.
Antihypertensive medication non-users had lower numbers of diabetes and hypertension related office visits, but greater numbers of all-cause hospitalizations than antihypertensive medication users. Antihypertensive medication non-users had greater odds of all-cause hospitalization, yet showed 29 percent lower average annualized and 27 percent lower total medical expenses.
Dr. Davis-Ajami, PhD, MBA, MS, NP-C, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore and lead author on the study, points out, “Medications play an important role in controlling blood pressure. We found significant numbers of adults not using antihypertensive medications among those adults one would expect to be taking such medications. Not surprisingly, there were greater hospitalizations among those not using antihypertensive medications in the presence of known hypertension and diabetes. During the two-year survey period, this did not result in higher medical costs. This cost finding differs from previous research and may reflect the lower number of office-based visits and lower prescription medication costs. It may also show a potentially serious underlying disconnect from the health care system that over a life-time, may add up.”
The full study, “Differences in Health Services Utilization and Costs between Antihypertensive Medication Users Versus Nonusers in Adults with Diabetes and Concomitant Hypertension from Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Pooled Years 2006 to 2009,” is published inValue in Health.
Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide).
International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.
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