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Insulin-taking behavior and memory problems among people with diabetes in five countries: findings from a web survey

Authors Brod M, Pfeiffer K, Clausen K, Skovgaard R, Kongsø JH

Received 10 July 2014

Accepted for publication 29 August 2014

Published 10 November 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 43—60


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Sholom Glouberman

Meryl Brod,1 Kathryn M Pfeiffer,1 Kasper Mandel Clausen,2 Rasmus Skovgaard,3 Jens Harald Kongsø2

1The Brod Group, Mill Valley, CA, USA; 2Novo Nordisk A/S, Global Development, Søborg, Denmark; 3Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., Market Access and External Affairs, Mississauga, ON, Canada

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore memory problems that result in nonadherence with insulin treatment in people with diabetes from five countries (USA, UK, Canada, Germany, People's Republic of China), as well as the impact of memory problems on physical and emotional functioning, work, and diabetes management.
Methods: A web survey was conducted in five countries with diabetic patients taking insulin. In three countries, focus groups and interviews with 64 patients treated with insulin were used to develop survey items. Three types of memory problems associated with insulin-taking were examined: unintentionally forgetting (UF), questioning whether or not one took a dose (QT), and questioning how much was taken (QD) over the past month. The survey focused on respondents who had experienced at least one of these memory problems.
Results: The incidence of memory problems was high; 93.3% of those eligible for the survey reported having had a memory issue in the previous month. A total of 1,754 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes completed the web survey. Sixty-eight percent of respondents reported a UF, 79.6% a QT, and 54.7% a QD. A total of 35.9% of respondents reported experiencing all three memory problems. Respondents reported that memory problems had negative impacts on physical and emotional functioning, as well as time and functioning at work. Many respondents indicated that memory problems led them to taking additional blood glucose measurements and contacting physicians/health care professionals. The results demonstrated some significant differences across countries, some significant variation across patient demographics and disease characteristics, and few significant differences across types of insulin regime.
Conclusion: Memory problems related to insulin-taking among people with diabetes were experienced by almost all patients. Memory problems are associated with poorer patient well-being and functioning, increased use of health care resources, lost time, and reduced functioning at work. Memory problems should be considered in diabetes treatment in order to improve insulin adherence, diabetes management, and patient outcomes.

Keywords: insulin, memory problems, diabetes, web survey

Corrigendum for this paper has been published

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