To characterize and compare glucose-lowering medication use in type 2 diabetes in the U.S., Sweden, and Israel, including adoption of newer medications and prescribing patterns.


We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from the U.S., the Stockholm CREAtinine Measurements (SCREAM) project from Sweden, and Maccabi Healthcare Services (Maccabi) from Israel. Specific pharmacotherapy for type 2 diabetes between 2007 and 2018 was examined.


Use of glucose-lowering medications among patients with type 2 diabetes was substantially lower in NHANES and SCREAM than in Maccabi (66.0% in NHANES, 68.4% in SCREAM, and 88.1% in Maccabi in 2017–2018). Among patients who took at least one glucose-lowering medication in 2017–2018, metformin use was also lower in NHANES and SCREAM (74.1% in NHANES, 75.9% in SCREAM, and 92.6% in Maccabi) whereas sulfonylureas use was greater in NHANES (31.5% in NHANES, 16.0% in SCREAM, and 14.9% in Maccabi). Adoption of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors and sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) was slower in NHANES and SCREAM than in Maccabi. History of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, heart failure, reduced kidney function, or albuminuria was not consistently associated with greater use of SGLT2i or glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP1RA) across the three countries.


There were substantial differences in real-world use of glucose-lowering medications across the U.S., Sweden, and Israel, with more optimal pharmacologic management in Israel. Variation in access to care and medication cost across countries may have contributed to these differences. SGLT2i and GLP1RA use in patients at high risk was limited in all three countries during this time period.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.21126043.

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