We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Starting Insulin Therapy in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Effectiveness, Complications, and Resource Utilization

Rodney A. Hayward, MD; Willard G. Manning, PhD; Sherrie H. Kaplan, PhD, MPH; Edward H. Wagner, MD; Sheldon Greenfield, MD
JAMA. 1997;278(20):1663-1669. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550200039029.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Context.  —Although experimental studies show that insulin therapy can be safe and efficacious in improving glycemic control in type 2 diabetes under optimal conditions (ie, using patient volunteers with close monitoring under strict study protocols), little is known about its effectiveness, complication rates, and associated resource utilization in actual clinical practice.

Design.  —Cohort study.

Setting.  —Large staff-model health maintenance organization.

Participants.  —A total of 8668 patients with type 2 diabetes cared for by generalist physicians from 1990 through 1993.

Outcome Measures.  —Resource use (hospitalizations, outpatient visits, laboratory testing, and home glucose monitoring) and glycemic control were evaluated using combined clinical, survey, and administrative information systems data. Detailed clinical case-mix data, including a newly validated case-mix method, the Total Illness Burden Index, were collected on a subsample of 1738 patients.

Results.  —Among patients starting insulin therapy, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) decreased by 0.9 percentage point (95% confidence interval, 0.7-1.0) at 1 year compared with those receiving stable medication regimens; however, 2 years after starting insulin therapy, 60% still had HbA1c levels of 8% or greater. There was no evidence that some primary care physicians achieved better results than other primary care physicians when starting insulin therapy in their patients. Patients with the poorest baseline glycemic control achieved substantially greater HbA1c reductions; those with a baseline HbA1c level of 13% had a 3-fold greater decline in HbA1c than those whose baseline HbA1c level was 9%. For a subset of all patients for whom detailed clinical case-mix data were obtained, those taking insulin had higher resource use than those taking sulfonylureas, independent of illness severity. After adjusting for age, sex, race, socioeconomic status, disease duration, and severity of diabetes and comorbidities, insulin users had slightly more laboratory tests performed, 2.4 more outpatient visits per year, and almost 300 more fingersticks for home glucose testing per year compared with sulfonylurea users (all P<.01). Although 15% of patients receiving insulin therapy reported weekly symptoms of hypoglycemia, insulin therapy was not associated with an increase in emergency department visits (after case-mix adjustment) and resulted in only 0.5 hypoglycemia-related hospitalizations per 100 patient-years.

Conclusions.  —For patients with type 2 diabetes who were cared for by generalist physicians, starting insulin therapy was generally safe and effective in achieving moderate glycemic control in patients who initially had poor glycemic control. However, insulin therapy was associated with increases in resource use and was rarely effective in achieving tight glycemic control, even for those with moderate control.


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.