, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 505-511,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Dec 2010

Primary Language, Income and the Intensification of Anti-glycemic Medications in Managed Care: the (TRIAD) Study

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Patients who speak Spanish and/or have low socioeconomic status are at greater risk of suboptimal glycemic control. Inadequate intensification of anti-glycemic medications may partially explain this disparity.

OBJECTIVE

To examine the associations between primary language, income, and medication intensification.

DESIGN

Cohort study with 18-month follow-up.

PARTICIPANTS

One thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine patients with Type 2 diabetes who were not using insulin enrolled in the Translating Research into Action for Diabetes Study (TRIAD), a study of diabetes care in managed care.

MEASUREMENTS

Using administrative pharmacy data, we compared the odds of medication intensification for patients with baseline A1c ≥ 8%, by primary language and annual income. Covariates included age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, Charlson score, diabetes duration, baseline A1c, type of diabetes treatment, and health plan.

RESULTS

Overall, 42.4% of patients were taking intensified regimens at the time of follow-up. We found no difference in the odds of intensification for English speakers versus Spanish speakers. However, compared to patients with incomes <$15,000, patients with incomes of $15,000-$39,999 (OR 1.43, 1.07-1.92), $40,000-$74,999 (OR 1.62, 1.16-2.26) or >$75,000 (OR 2.22, 1.53-3.24) had increased odds of intensification. This latter pattern did not differ statistically by race.

CONCLUSIONS

Low-income patients were less likely to receive medication intensification compared to higher-income patients, but primary language (Spanish vs. English) was not associated with differences in intensification in a managed care setting. Future studies are needed to explain the reduced rate of intensification among low income patients in managed care.