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Hypoglycaemia Management for People with Type 2 Diabetes #easd2011

New multinational survey data released to coincide with the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 47th Annual Meeting has revealed a lack of communication between type 2 diabetes patients and physicians around hypoglycaemia. The survey, commissioned by MSD, assessed physicians and patients from 11 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Almost one-third of patients surveyed (32%) said they do not regularly discuss hypoglycaemia with their physician, due in part to patients’ limited understanding about hypoglycaemia and lack of time, highlighting a need for improving patient and physician communication.1,2 Results showed a lack of understanding of the symptoms and possible causes of hypoglycaemia in 1,354 type 2 diabetes patients across all surveyed regions. 72% of patients in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and 53% of patients in the European countries surveyed did not select medication as a cause of hypoglycaemia. 21% of those who do not regularly discuss hypoglycaemia with their physician thought there was nothing their physician could do to help them manage the condition.1,2

In addition, more than half (58%) of the physicians surveyed (675 total) believe that patients do not always tell them about all of their hypoglycaemia episodes. Results varied by region; 81% of physicians in six European countries surveyed believed patients underreported hypoglycaemia episodes, versus 45% in other regions. 1,2 “Hypoglycaemia is a real problem for diabetes patients. These data highlight that it is essential for patients to understand and recognize signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia and discuss hypoglycaemia management with their physicians,” said Barry J. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and therapeutic area head, diabetes and endocrinology, Merck Research Laboratories, MSD's parent company. The survey results highlight the need for better education for type 2 diabetes patients and improved patient and physician conversations regarding hypoglycaemia. In Asia, Latin America and the Middle East almost three quarters of patients (74%) surveyed said that it would be extremely useful or very useful to discuss hypoglycaemia more frequently with their physician.1 In addition, the majority of physicians (94%) stated it would be extremely useful or very useful to have more information and resources to help their type 2 diabetes patients identify and manage hypoglycaemia.1

About Hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in the blood drops too low for the body’s needs.3 It can occur in patients with type 2 diabetes and is associated with certain type 2 diabetes medications. 4 Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include sweating, hunger, anxiety, palpitations, tremors and behavioural changes.5 Hypoglycaemia can reduce a person’s adherence to diabetes medication, with patients reporting that they are uncertain about how to follow their medication instructions and treatment plans.6