Diabetes prescriptions rise 80 percent in 10 years

A report published by NHS Digital shows the number of prescriptions for medicines used to treat diabetes has increased from almost 29 million a year in 2006/2007 to 52 million a year in 2016/2017.

This is a rise of just over 80 percent, compared with a rise of 46 percent in the number of all types of medicines prescribed during the same time period.

The report – called Prescribing for Diabetes: England 2007-07 to 2016/17 – also shows that in the last year alone the number of items prescribed for diabetes grew more than twice as fast (4.7 percent) as prescriptions overall (2 percent).

“The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen by 54 percent in the last decade, so it’s no surprise that levels of prescribing have risen by almost the same level,” says Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence at Diabetes UK.

“But the increase in prescribing at a primary care level is indicative of the hard work doctors are doing to help people living with diabetes keep their blood glucose at safe levels, and preventing devastating, and costly, complications – such as cardiovascular and kidney disease – further down the line.

“Diabetes is one of our biggest health crises, and with 12 million people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it’s clear that focusing on prevention is vital to prevent costs rising even higher.”

Have you had your review?

O’Neil also stresses the importance of having a regular review of any prescription drugs you may be taking for diabetes, to make sure you receive the most effective therapy.

Indeed, another report recently published by NHS Digital shows those with diabetes who’ve had regular annual diabetes checks during the past seven years have a mortality rate that’s half that of those who haven’t had regular checks.

This is good news for those who have diabetes, since according to the report those with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are 32 percent more likely to die prematurely than others in the general population.

An annual diabetes review is recommended for everyone who has diabetes so that their GP and diabetes team can keep an eye on their health. The review tests for the following:

HbA1c: this gives your diabetes team an idea of your average blood glucose levels over the last two to three months (it’s not the same as the blood glucose tests you may have more regularly).

Cholesterol: normally tested once a year, this measures the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Kidneys: there are two tests that check how well your kidneys are working – a urine test and a blood test.

Blood pressure: you should have your blood pressure tested at least every six months.

Foot health: besides the daily checks you should do yourself, this tests your feet for sensation and circulation.

Eye health: as well as testing your eyesight, you need a special photograph taken of your retinas (the backs of your eyes) once a year.

As well as the tests, your GP or diabetes team will talk to you about your lifestyle and review the medicines you’re using to control your diabetes, and make any adjustments if necessary.

However, if your review isn’t due and you have concerns or questions about your diabetes treatment, your Careway pharmacist can help with any aspect of your medicines or how your lifestyle can help keep your diabetes under control – with no appointment necessary.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.