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AIM: To describe population-level time trends in prescribing patterns of type 2 diabetes therapy, and in short-term clinical outcomes (glycated haemoglobin [HbA1c], weight, blood pressure, hypoglycaemia and treatment discontinuation) after initiating new therapy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We studied 81 532 people with type 2 diabetes initiating a first- to fourth-line drug in primary care between 2010 and 2017 inclusive in United Kingdom electronic health records (Clinical Practice Research Datalink). Trends in new prescriptions and subsequent 6- and 12-month adjusted changes in glycaemic response (reduction in HbA1c), weight, blood pressure and rates of hypoglycaemia and treatment discontinuation were examined. RESULTS: Use of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors as second-line therapy near doubled (41% of new prescriptions in 2017 vs. 22% in 2010), replacing sulphonylureas as the most common second-line drug (29% in 2017 vs. 53% in 2010). Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors, introduced in 2013, comprised 17% of new first- to fourth-line prescriptions by 2017. First-line use of metformin remained stable (91% of new prescriptions in 2017 vs. 91% in 2010). Over the study period there was little change in average glycaemic response and in the proportion of people discontinuing treatment. There was a modest reduction in weight after initiating second- and third-line therapy (improvement in weight change 2017 vs. 2010 for second-line therapy: -1.5 kg, 95% confidence interval [CI] -1.9, -1.1; P 

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Obes Metab

Publication Date





1576 - 1584


SGLT2 inhibitor, glycaemic control, hypoglycaemia, primary care, type 2 diabetes, weight control, Blood Glucose, Body Weight, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Humans, Hypoglycemia, Hypoglycemic Agents, Practice Patterns, Physicians', Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors