Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Summary A questionnaire survey was carried out to explore differences in the approach to treatment of patients with Type II diabetes between physicians in Northern Ireland, Norway and Sweden, and to discover to what extent it could account for the three-fold difference in drug use between the countries. A representative sample of 400 physicians in each country was asked to give their opinions on the choice of therapy for three model cases designed to cover the spectrum of treatment — from diet alone to insulin. Significantly more Swedish (65%) than Northern Irish (51%) and Norwegian (52%) doctors suggested diet alone for uncomplicated diabetes recently discovered in a middle aged, overweight man. For symptomatic diabetes in a 76 year old overweight woman with few retinal microaneurysms, the majority of physicians in all three countries suggested treatment with sulphonylureas. Biguanides were here a more common alternative in Northern Ireland than in Scandinavia. For suspected secondary treatment failure in a 63 year old woman with no signs of complications, insulin was suggested by 71% of the Norwegian doctors but only by 44 and 49% of those in Northern Ireland and Sweden, respectively. General practitioners tended to suggest oral treatment earlier and to maintain it longer than hospital physicians. The study has demonstrated significant differences in the approach to treatment of Type II diabetes mellitus between physicians in the three countries. However, the differences were more prominent in the choice of drugs than in the threshold of drug treatment. The results also fit with qualitative but not with quantitative differences in drug sales between the countries, suggesting that important differences may exist in the prevalence of clinically recognized Type II diabetes.
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