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Are Older Adults Being Overtreated for Diabetes?

Jul 3, 2021
 
Editor: David L. Joffe, BSPharm, CDE, FACA

Author: Brenda Oppong, PharmD Candidate, LECOM School of Pharmacy

Older adults may be at risk of adverse events such as hypoglycemia when overtreated with certain medications. 

The risk of diabetes increases with age. Over 25% of adults age ≥75 years have diabetes and are at risk of experiencing adverse events related to their treatment. Older adults are especially at risk of hypoglycemia when receiving intense treatment for glycemic control. Intensive glycemic control when treating patients with diabetes is generally beneficial and recommended due to the reduced risk of developing long-term complications. However, guidelines recommend relaxing glycemic targets in older adults due to the risk of hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, there is continual evidence of overtreatment in older adults. Particular blood glucose-lowering agents such as insulin and sulfonylureas increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Very few studies have focused on the risk of high-risk agents when treating a patient with diabetes with intensive glycemic targets. A retrospective population-based cohort study was conducted on older adults living in the community, using databases in Ontario, Canada....

 

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