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U.K. insulin use trebles in twenty years as diabetes rates increase

In the United Kingdom the estimated number of people with diabetes has risen from 1.4 million to 2.8 million between 1996 and 2010, and new research in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism has found that insulin use has trebled across the population in the last twenty years.

The financial cost of insulin to the National Health Service increased from £156 million in 2000 to £359 million in 2009, due in part to the introduction of more expensive insulin analogues and the more frequent use of insulin by type 2 diabetics.

The research team, based at the University of Cardiff, aimed to calculate the rise of insulin use in type 1 and type 2 diabetics in the U.K. They turned to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which holds data for 12 million patients registered across 660 practices.

The results show an increase in the rate of insulin use from 2.43 per 1,000 population in 1991 to 6.71 per 1,000 in 2010.

“The number of people using insulin trebled between 1991 and 2010, largely due to a considerable increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes using insulin,” said Professor Craig Currie from Cardiff University. “The rising prevalence of insulin use probably reflects both increasing incidence and longer survival of those who already have type 2 diabetes.”


How many people inject insulin? UK estimates from 1991 to 2010, Authors: Sarah E Holden PhD student, Edwin AM Gale emeritus professor of diabetic medicine, Sara Jenkins-Jones research fellow, Craig J Currie professor of applied pharmacoepidemiology, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism – DOI: 10.1111/dom.12260