Self-monitoring in Type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial of reimbursement policy.

Research paper by J A JA Johnson, S R SR Majumdar, S L SL Bowker, E L EL Toth, A A Edwards

Indexed on: 24 Oct '06Published on: 24 Oct '06Published in: Diabetic Medicine


Self-monitoring of blood glucose is often considered a cornerstone of self-care for patients with diabetes. We assessed whether provision of free testing strips would improve glycaemic control in non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetic patients.Adults with Type 2 diabetes, excluding those with private insurance or using insulin, were recruited through community pharmacies and randomized to receive free testing strips for 6 months or not; all patients received similar baseline education and a glucose meter. Primary outcome was change in HbA(1c) over 6 months.We randomized 262 patients (131 intervention and 131 control subjects). Mean age was 68.4 years (sd 10.9), 48% were male, mean duration of diabetes was 8.2 years (sd 7.2), 97% used oral glucose-lowering agents and mean baseline HbA(1c) was 7.4% (sd 1.2). After 6 months, we observed no difference in HbA(1c) between intervention and control patients, after adjusting for baseline HbA(1c)[adjusted difference 0.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.16, 0.22; P = 0.78]. A per protocol analysis of study completers (152/262; 60%) yielded similar results. Intervention patients reported testing 0.64 days per week more often than control subjects (95% CI 0.18, 1.10; P = 0.007), although testing was not associated with better glycaemic control (Pearson r = -0.10, P = 0.12).Reducing financial barriers by providing free testing strips did not improve glycaemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes not using insulin. Our results question the value of policies that reduce financial barriers to testing supplies in this population.