Self-monitoring of blood glucose in Type 2 diabetes: cross-sectional analyses in 1993, 1999 and 2009

Diabetic Medicine, 05/25/2012

Evans JMM et al. – The numbers of reagent strips dispensed for self–monitoring of blood glucose has increased and almost all insulin–treated patients receive strips. While few diet–treated patients receive strips, they are more extensively dispensed to those treated with oral agents. Given that self–monitoring of blood glucose is no longer routinely recommended in non–insulin treated patients, strategies to reduce unnecessary dispensing of reagent strips are needed.


  • A diabetes clinical information system in Tayside, record–linked to electronic dispensed prescribing records, was used to collate all dispensed prescribing records for three cross–sectional samples of patients with Type 2 diabetes in 1993 (n = 5728), 1999 (n = 8109) and at 1 January 2009 (n = 16450).
  • The numbers of reagent strips dispensed during the relevant calendar year were calculated and patients stratified by treatment.
  • The authors also explored whether age, sex or material and social deprivation were associated with whether a patient received strips.


  • Proportions of people who received self–monitoring reagent strips increased from 15.5% in 1993, to 24.2% in 1999 to 29.8% in 2009, as did numbers of strips dispensed.
  • While the proportion of diet–treated patients who received reagent strips was still very low in 2009 (5.6%), the proportion among those treated with oral agents tripled from 9.4 to 27.4% between 1993 and 2009.
  • Over 90% of patients treated with insulin received reagent strips and, among non–insulin–treated patients, this was more common among women, younger people and less deprived groups.

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