Impact of Age, Frailty, and Dementia on Prescribing for Type 2 Diabetes at Hospital Discharge 2012–2016

Steve J. Wood, J. Simon Bell, Dianna J. Magliano, Laura Fanning, Matteo Cesari, Claire Keen, Jenni Ilomӓki

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Background: The risks of intensive blood glucose lowering may outweigh the benefits in vulnerable older people. Objectives: Our primary aim was to determine whether age, frailty, or dementia predict discharge treatment types for patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and related complications. Secondly, we aimed to determine the association between prior hypoglycemia and discharge treatment types. Design, Setting and Participants: We conducted a cohort study involving 3,067 patients aged 65–99 years with T2D and related complications, discharged from Melbourne’s Eastern Health Hospital Network between 2012 and 2016. Measurements: Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between age, frailty, dementia and hypoglycemia, and being prescribed insulin-only, non-insulin glucose-lowering drugs (GLDs) or combined insulin and non-insulin GLDs compared to no GLD. International Classification of Diseases-10 codes were used to identify dementia status and prior hypoglycemia; frailty was quantified using the Hospital Frailty Risk Score. Results: Insulin-only, non-insulin GLDs, combined insulin and non-insulin GLDs, and no GLDs were prescribed to 19%, 39%, 20%, and 23% of patients, respectively. Patients >80 years were less likely than patients aged 65–80 to be prescribed any of the GLD therapies, (eg. non-insulin GLDs [OR 0.67; 95%CI 0.55–0.82]), compared to no GLD. Similarly, high vs. low frailty scores were associated with not being prescribed any of the three GLD therapies, (eg. non-insulin GLDs [OR 0.63; 95%CI 0.45–0.87]). However, dementia was not associated with discharge prescribing of GLD therapies. Patients with a hypoglycemia-related admission were more likely than those not hospitalized with hypoglycemia to receive insulin-only (OR 4.28; 95%CI 2.89–6.31). Conclusions: Clinicians consider age and frailty when tailoring diabetes treatment regimens for patients discharged from hospital with T2D and related complications. There is scope to optimize prescribing for patients with dementia and for those admitted with hypoglycemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-349
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Frailty & Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • dementia
  • frailty
  • Type 2 diabetes

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