Racial Disparities in Diabetes Control Not Solely Linked to Lower Treatment Adherence Among Blacks, Study Finds
Lower diabetes treatment adherence among blacks does not fully explain racial disparities in diabetes control, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, Reuters Health reports.
Blacks with type 2 diabetes tend to have more problems controlling their blood sugar than whites and also are at a higher risk of developing complications from diabetes, according to Reuters Health. Research has also found that blacks are less likely than whites to adhere to their medication regimens. Researchers sought to determine whether this lack of adherence contributed to blacks' lack of ability to manage their condition. For the study, researchers from Harvard Medical School, led by Alyce Adams, reviewed the medical records of 1,806 adults with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that in general, blacks had a higher average blood sugar level than whites 12 months after beginning drug therapy. Blacks were also slightly less likely to adhere to their medication regimen, which was based on whether they refilled their prescriptions. Neither of the findings explained blacks' poorer disease management, according to the study. Researchers suggested that because blacks tend to have more severe diabetes at the time of therapy, their disease might be more difficult to control and, thus, they might need more aggressive therapy from the beginning.
Researchers said that more research is needed to determine the exact cause of the disparity but noted that improving black patients' medication adherence alone is not likely to reduce the gap (Reuters Health, 5/14).
An abstract of the study is available online.