Excessive Testing May Lead to Unnecessary Medication Changes in Diabetes

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Patients with type 2 diabetes may undergo too many tests, which may compromise their care.
Patients with type 2 diabetes may undergo too many tests, which may compromise their care.

(HealthDay News) — Many Americans with type 2 diabetes may be getting unnecessary tests — and, in some cases, needless changes in medication, according to a study published in The BMJ.

The study's findings are based on insurance claims made between 2001 and 2013 for 31 545 patients aged 18 and older with type 2 diabetes. All of the adults in the study had glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels that were consistently below 7% within the previous 2 years.

Nearly 55% underwent HbA1c tests 3 or 4 times per year. Another 6% had at least 5 tests per year. Frequent HbA1c tests were also associated with increased odds that patients would be started on additional medications to control their glucose levels.

"I think part of the problem is that we often think more testing is better," lead researcher Rozalina McCoy, MD, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told HealthDay.

Reference

  1. McCoy RG, Van Houten HK, Ross JS, Montori VM, Shah ND. HbA1c overtesting and overtreatment among US adults with controlled type 2 diabetes, 2001-13: observational population based study. BMJ. 2015;doi:10.1136/bmj.h6138.
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