Complexity of antidiabetic medication regimen is associated with increased diabetes-related distress in persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Maria Luzuriaga, Rafael Leite, Hammad Ahmed, Patrice G. Saab, Rajesh Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Diabetes-related distress is present in a high proportion of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. We hypothesized that complexity of the antidiabetic medication regimen is a factor that is associated with diabetes-related distress. Research design and methods This was a retrospective study including a group of 74 patients managed at a tertiary care center. Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus, steroid-induced diabetes, post-transplant diabetes, and other types of diabetes were excluded. Patients were screened using the Diabetes Distress Scale-2 (DDS-2). A Diabetes Medication Complexity Scoring (DMCS) system was developed to objectively assess the diabetes medication complexity. Based on DMCS, participants were categorized into three groups: low (n=26), moderate (n=22), and high (n=26) medication complexity. Results Complexity groups were similar in sociodemographic characteristics, diabetes duration, body mass index, and blood pressure as well as the prevalence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hypoglycemic episodes. However, there were significant differences for HbA1c with higher HbA1c in the high and moderate complexity groups than in the low group (p=0.006). The microvascular complications were also more common in higher complexity groups (p=0.003). The prevalence of diabetes-related distress (DDS-2 ≥6) was 34.6% in the low, 36.4% in the moderate and 69.2% in the high complexity groups (p=0.021). There were significant differences in DDS-2 score among complexity groups (p=0.009), with higher DDS-2 score in the high complexity group compared with the moderate (p=0.008) and low complexity groups (p=0.009). The difference in DDS-2 score remained significant after adjusting for HbA1c (p=0.024) but did not reach statistical significance after controlling for both HbA1c and microvascular complications (p=0.163). Conclusions A complex antidiabetic medication regimen may be associated with high levels of diabetes-related distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere002348
JournalBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 30 2021


  • diabetes mellitus
  • medication
  • psychology
  • type 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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