Severe hypoglycaemia during treatment with sulphonylureas in patients with type 2 diabetes in the Capital Region of Denmark

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S Pilemann-Lyberg, B Thorsteinsson, O Snorgaard, M Zander, H Vestergaard, M E Røder

AIMS: Sulphonylureas (SU) are currently recommended as a well-established second line treatment in guidelines for type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In the Capital Region of Denmark 16,865 patients were given SU as part of their treatment of T2DM in 2010-2011. To what extent SU are associated with hospitalizations due to severe hypoglycaemic episodes, defined as episodes with a need for external assistance, was investigated. The prevalence and characteristics of these patients and potential risk factors were studied.

METHODS: ICD-10 diagnosis codes were used to identify patients hospitalized due to hypoglycaemia and T2DM for a period of 2 years (2010-2011). Inclusion criteria were T2DM, hospitalization due to hypoglycaemia and treatment with SU as monotherapy or in combination with other glucose-lowering drugs except insulin treatment.

RESULTS: We identified 161 patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria. Their mean age was 76 (53-97) years and 54% were males. Sixty percent of the patients had diabetic complications, including 19% with diabetic nephropathy. The major reason for severe hypoglycaemia was an unchanged dose of SU despite of a significant decline in food intake (45%). In 22% of the patients more than one reason was listed, most commonly a concomitant infection associated with decreased food intake and unchanged dose of SU.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of hospital admission-requiring severe hypoglycaemia in patients treated with SU was 0.48 episodes per 100 patient-years of SU-treated patients. It was mainly older patients with diminished food intake, excessive alcohol use or other medications, concomitant infection, and with diabetic complications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)202-7
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 147661759