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When oral agents fail: practical barriers to starting insulin


Insulin therapy has proven benefits in Type 2 diabetes patients when combination therapy has failed. However, there is some reluctance by both patients and healthcare professionals to initiate insulin therapy. This reluctance has been termed ‘psychological insulin resistance’. Barriers to the initiation of insulin therapy include patients‘ fear of disease progression and needle anxiety; mutual concerns about hypoglycaemia and weight gain; and health professionals' use of insulin as a threat to encourage compliance with earlier therapies. It is essential that these obstacles are identified and investigated as a means of overcoming these impediments to recommended levels of glycaemic control, an initiative being pursued by the DAWN study. Where concerns are tangible, such as fear of hypoglycaemia, therapeutic solutions can be pursued. Overcoming psychological barriers relies more on innovative management techniques. Improving insulin delivery to meet these needs, coupled with enhanced healthcare services, can address psychological insulin resistance and contribute to the maintenance of good metabolic control.

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Correspondence to M Korytkowski.

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Korytkowski, M. When oral agents fail: practical barriers to starting insulin. Int J Obes 26 (Suppl 3), S18–S24 (2002).

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  • insulin therapy
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • psychological insulin resistance
  • needle anxiety
  • compliance

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