Majority skip medicines for diabetes in UAE

Top Stories

Majority skip medicines for diabetes in UAE
Patients burdened with treatment often opt for self treatment in the UAE, say doctors.

Dubai - Experts warn that the tendency to go for self-treatment can often lead to potentially serious health consequences, showing there is a need for new strategies to support patients here.

By Staff Reporter

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Wed 20 Apr 2016, 4:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Apr 2016, 9:23 PM

Many residents struggling with diabetes adopt lacklustre attitude in taking medicines regularly, a new survey  has found.
The survey involving 200 UAE-based physicians has also indicated that many patients are not taking their treatment at all.
Experts warn that the tendency to go for self-treatment can often lead to potentially serious health consequences, showing there is a need for new strategies to support patients here.
The survey conducted for AstraZeneca involved extensive interviews with UAE based physicians and aimed to build a clearer picture on diabetes management and control in the region.
The results showed considerable segmentation, with patients being on a variety of treatments and those having HbA1c levels in the 6-8 per cent range.
The goal of treatment for someone with diabetes is to lower their HbA1c to as low as possible.
Dr Amel Bushra El Tayeb, Consultant Endocrinologist at The Diabetes & Endocrine Centre in Dubai, explained that many factors influence how well a person's diabetes is controlled, including their lifestyle, whether they take their medicine as prescribed, and the effectiveness of the treatment taken.
"As doctors, our goal is to work with our patients to get their HbA1c down to a safe level to reduce the risk of associated illness like cardiovascular disease," Dr Amel said.
"Unfortunately sometimes people don't take their medication as prescribed or stop taking it altogether or they're resistant to making healthy lifestyle changes and this can contribute to undesirable HbA1c levels1," he said.
Additionally, even when the medicine is taken properly it doesn't lower blood sugar as much as we'd like, he said.
He said the new study offers valuable insight into what treatments are working for which patient groups and highlights where diabetes experts need to look for new strategies.
 "It should help us tailor treatment and help our patients get their diabetes under control."
 Dr Tarek Fiad, Consultant Endocrinologist at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, explained that diabetes is a progressive disease, which requires more therapies and different approaches over time.
 Dissatisfied patients
 "Treatments that worked well during the early course of diabetes becomes less effective over the years, which underscores the importance of long-term follow-ups with timely additions of more therapies when the need arises."

Why HbA1c very important
Doctors measure the level of Glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c in patients' blood to know how well a person's diabetes is controlled, as it is a marker of how much blood sugar they have in circulation.
An HbA1c test result of 5.6 per cent or less is normal; 5.7 per cent to 6.4 per cent is a pre-diabetes state, while HBA1c of 6.5 per cent or above indicates diabetes and a higher risk of health issues.
Some of the glucose-lowering medicines are often associated with side effects like weight gain, Dr Fiad said.
 "We know that a substantial number of people with diabetes struggle with the long list of medications being taken and start missing doses. Besides the load of therapies, patients may skip taking their medications because of undesirable side effects including weight gain."
Dr Fiad added that it is not unusual that a large number of medications are required to control diabetes and the complexity of some therapies can drive some patients to omit their medications.
 "I understand that some patients become dissatisfied with their medications and therefore, elect to stop their therapies. However, it is crucially important to maintain diabetes under control in order to prevent complications and enjoy a long healthy life," he said.
 "We need newer strategies and more innovative approaches - including a wider range of safer and more effective therapies aiming at reducing the treatment burden and enhance therapy objectives."
But in the last few years the UAE has witnessed the introduction of treatments, which do not lead to weight gain or very low blood sugar levels.
 "Another milestone in diabetes therapies was the recent introduction of novel agents, which help lowering sugar levels without being reliant on the ability of the body to produce insulin and by the same token, they help in losing some weight," he said.

More news from