Medication persistence is imperative for successful treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Prior research has shown that discontinuation of prescribed medication within the first year is common for number of chronic disease treatments and that this is associated with poor clinical outcomes.

We performed a retrospective, observational study using claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan® Commercial and Medicare Supplemental Databases (2013-2016) to identify T2D patients initiating T2D therapy. Patients with at least one diagnosis for T2D and one outpatient pharmacy claim for a T2D medication preceded by 12 months without such medications were included. Patients were required to have at least 12 months of continuous enrollment in the database before and after the therapy initiation date. The primary outcome was initial treatment regimen discontinuation, defined as a gap of at least 45 days with no T2D medications on hand. Re-starting therapy with any T2D medication from the discontinuation date through the end of the 12-month follow-up was also assessed. Those with continuous treatment were censored at the end of the 12-month follow-up period.

A total of 324,136 patients initiating therapy were identified. The sample was 46% female and had an average age of 55 years. Following initiation, 31% of patients discontinued within the first 3 months, 44% within 6 months and 58% within 12 months. Among those who discontinued within the 12-month follow-up, 27% restarted therapy within 60 days, and 39% re-started therapy anytime during the 12-month follow-up. Those who discontinued and re-started therapy spent a mean of 107 days without treatment on hand.

This study provides real-world evidence that a majority of T2D medication patients discontinue within one year of initiation. Interventions aimed at improving treatment persistence should be targeted early after initiation to avoid gaps in therapy and associated clinical consequences.


W.T. Cefalu: None. T. Darsow: None. M. Petersen: None. L. Palmer: None. E. Thiel: None. L. Latts: Other Relationship; Self; Medtronic, Novo Nordisk Inc., Sanofi.

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