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Record Rise Observed In Insulin Use

Update Date: Feb 08, 2014 03:48 PM EST
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Insulin which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, has increased by nearly three folds in last 20 years, according to a new study. 

The retrospective study led by researchers at Cardiff University's School of Medicine and  University of Bristol found that number of people using insulin trebled between 1991 and 2010. The increment was largely due to increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes who use insulin. 

"Understanding the pattern of insulin use is limited by a lack of data characterising the prevalence of insulin use in the UK," said Craig Currie, professor of Applied Pharmacoepidemiology at Cardiff University's School of Medicine, in the press release

"Given the limitations, our study sought to calculate - for the first time - the best possible estimate of the rates of insulin for type 1 and type 2 diabetes."

The study estimated that number of insulin users in the UK increased from 136,800 in 1991 to 421,300 in 2010. Researchers also found that the number of people who received prescription for type 2 diabetes overtook the number of patients with type 1 diabetes in the same period. 

"As a result of the study, we found that the number of people injecting insulin in the UK increased three-fold over the 20-year period from 1991 to 2010," said professor Currie in the press release.

"Also during this period there was more than a seven-fold increase in the number of those with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treated with insulin. Most of this is unrelated to clinical need. Insulin is very expensive and some of us believe that it involves too many serious side effects in people with type 2 diabetes."

The study gives a clear indication that the number of patients with type 2 diabetes using insulin has risen significantly. 

"The rising prevalence of insulin use probably reflects both an increase in incidence and longer survival of those who already have type 2 diabetes. The financial cost of insulin to the NHS in the UK is estimated to have increased from £156M in 2000 to £359M in 2009.

"The increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes using insulin is a wake-up call for all - not only in terms of lifestyle choices and how we treat people with type 2 diabetes," Professor Currie added in the press release

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