Racial Disparity Seen in Initiation of Newer Diabetes Meds

Black and American Indian or Alaskan Native individuals have significantly lower rates of initiation of newer diabetes medication, according to a study published in the February issue of The Lancet Regional Health-Americas.

Ahmed Elhussein, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of data from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial (4,892 participants) to examine the association of race/ethnicity with the initiation of newer diabetes medications (glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, and sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors).

The researchers found that over a median follow-up of 8.3 years, 45.2 percent of participants initiated newer diabetes medications. There was an association between race/ethnicity with newer diabetes medication initiation, with lower initiation among Black (hazard ratio, 0.81) and American Indian or Alaskan Native participants (hazard ratio, 0.51), independent of socioeconomic factors. There was also an inverse association seen between yearly family income and initiation of newer diabetes medications (hazard ratio, 0.78) when comparing the lowest and highest income groups. Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists mostly drove the findings.

“The association between race/ethnicity and initiation of newer diabetes medications persisted after accounting for differences in socioeconomic factors,” the authors write. “These findings warrant attention as disparities in access to newer diabetes medications may exacerbate existing racial/ethnic disparities in diabetes care.”

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