By Krista Lamb
New research led by Dr. Darren Lau at the University of Alberta uses data from Diabetes Action Canada’s National Diabetes Repository to look at whether people with type 2 diabetes should have access to newer drug therapies. The results of this study have been published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.
“There are two newer classes of diabetes drugs—SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists—that not only lower blood sugars, but can actually prevent heart attacks and kidney failure. The new way of thinking about these drugs is to get people on them, no matter what their blood sugars are, and that’s because you want to get that heart and kidney benefit,” says Lau. “Applying this thinking, we found that anywhere from 17% to 60% of adults with diabetes should be on one or more of these drugs. That’s a large number of people. We also found that current use rates are only 14% for SGLT-2 inhibitors and 4% for GLP-1 receptor agonists in patients who really need them. Many of these people have good blood sugar control and might not even know that they would benefit from a change to their medications.”
This type of project shows how useful it can be for researchers to have access to de-identified health data from people living with diabetes. The National Diabetes Repository makes this access possible for select research projects aimed at creating better health outcomes for people living with diabetes.
“Diabetes Action Canada provided a very powerful and unique dataset, allowing us to look at Canadians with diabetes that family doctors see every day. The process of getting to work with these data was really protective of patient information, but also very efficient for us to start doing our analysis. This work would not have been possible without Diabetes Action Canada,” says Lau.