OREANDA-NEWS. October 27, 2011. Roper study shows a shift in treatment among Russian diabetes patients; insulin use spikes, while use of non-insulin medications and lifestyle therapy declines.

The prevalence of diabetes in Russia now stands at 2.12 percent (3 million people), compared with 1.76 percent in 2006 – equivalent to a 20 percent increase in actual population numbers over the last five years – according to new research by GfK HealthCare’s Roper Global Diabetes Group. Moreover, the average age of newly diagnosed patients is dropping, indicating that diabetes is increasingly affecting younger age groups in Russia.

According to GfK HealthCare’s 2011 Roper Global Diabetes Patient Study for Russia, diabetes patients are almost 60 years old on average, unchanged since 2006. However, those newly diagnosed with the disease are almost five years younger than previous figures; the study shows the average age of newly diagnosed patients dropped from 56.1 years in 2006 to 51.4 in 2011.

The study also shows a noticeable change in therapies used to treat diabetes in Russia, with a significant increase in the use of insulin therapy in the last five years. GfK’s research shows insulin use nearly doubling, from 19 percent in 2006 to 36 percent in 2011. Conversely, the use of non-insulin medications is in decline, with 61 percent of patients in 2006 treated exclusively with pills, dropping to 47 percent of patients in 2011. Similarly, the use of lifestyle therapy in Russia has also declined, from 20 percent of diabetes patients engaging in diet and exercise to manage the disease in 2006 to just 13 percent in 2011.

GfK’s research also revealed the magnitude of comorbidities of diabetes patients in Russia, which exacts a heavy burden on the country’s health care system. Almost all diabetes patients (94 percent) in Russia experience four to five concomitant conditions, on average. The most prevalent of these is cardiovascular disease (82 percent of patients), with the majority also experiencing hypertension (68 percent). In most cases these conditions are treated with medications.

Additional concomitances mentioned by diabetes patients include eye conditions (55 percent) and weight problems (46 percent); interestingly, although just under half of diabetes patients admit to discussing weight issues with their doctor, almost 8 in 10 diabetes patients in Russia (83 percent) are overweight or obese.

Although most patients in Russia prefer to have their health care provider manage their diabetes, a high proportion (62 percent of patients) express a desire to know more about diabetes management. Apart from health care professionals, the sources of information are typically friends, family, other diabetes patients and television/radio. Notably, the use of the Internet in Russia has expanded rapidly in the last several years with 18 percent of patients using it for diabetes information, compared with just 4 percent in 2009.

The blood glucose meters market in Russia has evolved rapidly in the past few years with self-testing rates almost doubling since 2006, from 34 percent of patients to 65 percent in 2011. Conversely, the proportion of patients who rely purely on their doctor to check their blood glucose levels has dropped from 41percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2011.
600 Diabetes Patients Share Their Insights

Reflecting insights from 600 diabetes patients in Russia, fielded via in-depth face-to-face interviews in the first quarter of 2011, GfK HealthCare’s Roper Global Diabetes Group’s 2011 Patient Study for Russia provides comprehensive perspectives of the country’s diabetes market. The study offers comparable data back to 1998, across diabetes markets in 25 countries.