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Saturday, 22 July 2006 09:25
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Diabetics in the UK do not take their medication as prescribed
Diabetes UK, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and Ask About Medicines who commissioned a study, claims that two-thirds of the two million people with diabetes in the UK do not take their medication as prescribed.

The study found:
• Half of diabetes patients in the UK have depression.
• One in five suffers preventable complications as a result of neglecting to take their medicine.
• More than 60% of pregnant women with diabetes do not realise that stillbirth is a possible complication of not managing their condition or that their baby could be born with congenital malformations such as a heart defect or breathing problems.
• Almost a third of diabetics (32%) do not realise heart disease is a common complication of diabetes.
• More than a third of sufferers in the UK do not realise they will have the condition for life.
• Half of patients do not realise that diabetes may reduce life expectancy.

The study also found one in three did not understand what their medication was for or how to take it because they felt stupid asking questions.

Experts warn failure to manage diabetes properly can have serious consequences.

Simon O'Neill, director of care and policy at Diabetes UK, said: "Short-termism is a great enemy of good diabetes care.

"As this research shows, many people struggle to realise the importance of taking their medicines, especially if the consequences are not immediately apparent despite the fact that damage caused by not taking their medicines is irreparable.

"Good diabetes management could be seen to be similar to a pension plan - invest now to gain benefits in the future as in both situations there is no going back”.

Joanne Shaw, chair of Ask About Medicine, said: "It's vital that people with diabetes are encouraged and empowered to ask questions, as patients who have a good knowledge of their treatment options are better equipped to make informed decisions about medicines and other treatments”.

Richard Tiner, ABPI medical director, said there was no substitute for a good open relationship between diabetes patients and healthcare professionals.

"We hope the report will serve as a call to action to healthcare professionals to experiment with information prescriptions for their patients and encourage them to ask questions about their condition and treatment”.
   


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