MONDAY, Dec. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A considerable proportion of patients with type 2 diabetes may be self-monitoring blood glucose inappropriately, according to a research letter published online Dec. 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kevin D. Platt, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of claims data to quantify the rate of use and cost of self-monitoring blood glucose supplies that are potentially used inappropriately, focusing on test strips. The authors followed individuals with type 2 diabetes for at least one year after filling a prescription for test strips. If no prescription was filled, they following individuals for the calendar year of 2014.

A total of 370,740 individuals with type 2 diabetes met the inclusion criteria; during the year, 23.4 percent (86,747 individuals) filled three or more claims for test strips. The researchers found that 51,820 individuals (14 percent of the study population) were deemed to be potentially using the supplies inappropriately; 32,773 and 19,047 individuals were taking agents not considered to be a risk for causing hypoglycemia and had no claims for any antidiabetic medications, respectively. These groups used a median of 2.0 strips per day. Per person, per year, the median claims cost for test strips was $325.54. The mean consumer copayment was $18.14 annually for test strips.

“Strategies to improve engagement among clinicians and to educate patients are warranted to reduce low-value care,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

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