, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 239-256,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 05 Oct 2013

Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Older Patients: Current and Emerging Treatment Options

Abstract

Elderly patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are a rapidly emerging population that presents unique clinical challenges. This diverse patient group can differ widely in terms of physical and mental status, which can increase their risk of complications including hypoglycemia, falls, and depression. These factors can negatively impact their glycemic control, safety, and quality of life. The risk of hypoglycemic events is elevated among elderly patients with diabetes. In many cases, these events are related to antidiabetic therapy and the pursuit of strict glycemic control. Fear of a hypoglycemic episode, on the part of the patient and/or healthcare provider, is another major barrier to achieving glycemic control. Hypoglycemic events, even in the absence of awareness of the event (asymptomatic), can have negative consequences. To help manage these risks, several national and international organizations have proposed guidelines to address individualized treatment goals for older adults with diabetes. This article reviews current treatment guidelines for setting glycemic targets in elderly patients with T2DM, and discusses the role of emerging treatment options in this patient population.