Objective — The purpose of this study was to examine whether prescribing practices for elderly individuals with diabetes and hypertension changed over the past decade.
Research Design and Methods — We linked the Ontario Diabetes Database and four administrative databases in Ontario, Canada, to identify 27,822 patients >65 years of age who had diabetes and were newly treated for hypertension between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2001. All patients were followed for 2 years after their initial antihypertensive medication prescription.
Results — The 27,822 patients in this study (mean age 72 years, 51% men) were treated with oral hypoglycemic agents alone (n = 17,128 patients, 62%), insulin alone (n = 2,346, 8%), both oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin (n = 2,205, 8%), or diet alone (n = 6,143, 22%). Management within the first 2 years of hypertension diagnosis consisted of antihypertensive monotherapy in 20,183 patients (73%), two antihypertensive drugs in 6,207 (22%), and three or more drugs in 1,432 (5%); the most frequently chosen antihypertensive drugs were ACE inhibitors (68%), thiazides (15%), and calcium channel blockers (9%). Between 1995 and 2001, physician prescribing practices changed: the population-adjusted rates of antihypertensive drug prescribing increased by 46% (95% CI 33–55%), the proportion of initial antihypertensive prescriptions for ACE inhibitors increased from 54 to 76% (P < 0.0001), and the use of multiple antihypertensive agents within the first 2 years of diagnosis increased from 21 to 32% (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions — Antihypertensive prescribing patterns in elderly individuals with diabetes changed over the past decade in Ontario in directions consistent with the evolving evidence base.
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Geriatrics and aging
Drug prescribing behaviour