Among patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), racial/ethnic minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status (SES) have a higher burden of coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, and hypoglycemia. Therefore, these groups may especially benefit from newer diabetes medication classes (GLP-1 receptor agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors), but high cost may limit access. We conducted a secondary analysis of the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) randomized trial to assess the associations of race/ethnicity and SES with newer diabetes medication use. Look AHEAD compared an intensive lifestyle intervention to diabetes support and education among U.S. adults with obesity and T2D enrolled from 2001-2004. Medications, all prescribed outside of the study, were ascertained yearly. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the association between self-reported race/ethnicity and SES factors and time to initiation of any newer diabetes medication through October 2019, adjusted for time-varying HbA1c, BMI, and number/type of diabetes medications; and baseline study arm, demographics, and comorbidities; fully-adjusted results are presented. Of 4,892 participants, 64%, 16%, 13%, and 8% were white, black, Hispanic, and other race/ethnicities, respectively. Over a median follow-up of 8.3 years, 44% initiated a newer diabetes medication. Black race was associated with significantly lower initiation of newer medications compared to whites (HR 0.81; 95% CI 0.80-0.94); there was no difference by other race/ethnic group. Yearly family income was inversely associated with the outcome: HR 0.69 (95% CI 0.55-0.87) comparing the lowest vs. the highest income group. Education, employment, and health insurance were not significantly associated with the outcome. These findings provide evidence of racial and SES disparities in use of newer diabetes medications, independent of glycemic control, that may impede access to these drugs for the individuals who need them most.


A. Elhussein: None. M. Bancks: None. W.C. Knowler: None. A.L. Peters: Advisory Panel; Self; Abbott, Bigfoot Biomedical, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Eli Lilly and Company, MannKind Corporation, Medscape, Novo Nordisk Inc., Sanofi US. Consultant; Self; Livongo Health. Research Support; Self; Dexcom, Inc., vTv Therapeutics. Other Relationship; Self; Livongo Health, Mellitus Health, Omada Health, Stability Healthcare, Whole Biome Inc. E.M. Vaughan: None. N.M. Maruthur: Other Relationship; Self; Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions. J. Clark: None. S.J. Pilla: None.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (U01DK057149)

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