Dispensing glucose test materials in Dutch community pharmacies

OBJECTIVE: To assess the proportion of diabetic patients who collect self-monitoring equipment for glucose testing in Dutch community pharmacies. METHODS: Data were used from the PHARMO-Record Linkage System, containing pharmacy dispensing recordsrom 1991 to 1998. The study population consisted of patients who received at least two prescriptions of insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agents. Information was collected on patient demographics, antidiabetic drug use and self-monitoring equipment (bloodglucose meters and test strips). Type of diabetes was determined for all incident users of antidiabetic drugs. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The proportion of patients per community pharmacy, who were dispensed self-monitoring equipment at least once. RESULTS:The study population consisted of 11,358 diabetic patients. The number of incident patients was 5,050, of whom 91.7% had type 2 diabetes. Twenty-nine pharmacies were included. The mean proportion of patients per pharmacy who received test strips at leastonce was 30.1% (SD = 6.7%), range 19-46%. The proportion of patients who were dispensed test strips was almost three times higher among type 1 than among type 2 patients (54% vs. 17%). CONCLUSION: In comparison to other countries’ published data, Dutchcommunity pharmacies dispense relatively few glucose test materials to diabetic patients. There are substantial differences between pharmacies in dispensing test strips. Further research is needed into the determinants governing the use of test strips atboth patient and pharmacy level.

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