Patients with type 2 diabetes may undergo unnecessary HbA1c testing

Many Americans with type 2 diabetes regularly undergo unnecessary HbA1c testing.
Many Americans with type 2 diabetes regularly undergo unnecessary HbA1c testing.

HealthDay News — Many Americans with type 2 diabetes may be getting unnecessary tests – and, in some cases, needless changes in medication, according to a study published online December 8 in The BMJ.

The study's findings are based on insurance claims made between 2001 and 2013 for 31,545 type 2 diabetes patients age 18 and older. All of the adults in the study had glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels that were consistently below 7% within the previous two years.

Nearly 55% underwent HbA1c tests three or four times per year. Another 6% had at least five tests per year. Frequent HbA1c tests were also associated with increased odds that patients would be started on additional medications to control their glucose levels.

"I think part of the problem is that we often think more testing is better," lead researcher Rozalina McCoy, MD, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told HealthDay.

References

  1. McCoy RG, Van Houten HK, Ross JS, et al. HbA1c overtesting and overtreatment among US adults with controlled type 2 diabetes, 2001-13: observational population based study. BMJ. 2015; doi: 10.1136/bmj.h6138
  2. Hayward RA. Excessive testing of adults with type 2 diabetes. BMJ. 2015; doi: 10.1136/bmj.h6549
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