New multinational survey data released to coincide with the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 47th Annual Meeting has revealed a lack of communication between type 2 diabetes patients and physicians around hypoglycemia. The survey, commissioned by MSD (a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc.), assessed physicians and patients from 11 countries across Europe, Asia and Latin America. Almost one-third of patients surveyed (32 percent) said they do not regularly discuss hypoglycemia with their physician, due in part to patients’ limited understanding about hypoglycemia and lack of time, highlighting a need for improving patient and physician communication.

Results showed a lack of understanding of the symptoms and possible causes of hypoglycemia in 1,354 type 2 diabetes patients across all surveyed regions. 72 percent of patients in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and 53 percent of patients in the European countries surveyed did not select medication as a cause of hypoglycemia. Twenty-One percent of those who do not regularly discuss hypoglycemia with their physician thought there was nothing their physician could do to help them manage the condition. In addition, more than half (58 percent) of the physicians surveyed (675 total) believe that patients do not always tell them about all of their hypoglycemia episodes. Results varied by region; 81 percent of physicians in six European countries surveyed believed patients underreported hypoglycemia episodes, versus 45 percent in other regions.

“Hypoglycemia is a real problem for diabetes patients. These data highlight that it is essential for patients to understand and recognize signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and discuss hypoglycemia management with their physicians,” said Barry J. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., vice president and therapeutic area head, diabetes and endocrinology, Merck Research Laboratories, MSD`s parent company.

The survey results highlight the need for better education for type 2 diabetes patients and improved patient and physician conversations regarding hypoglycemia. In Asia, Latin America and the Middle East almost three quarters of patients (74 percent) surveyed said that it would be extremely useful or very useful to discuss hypoglycemia more frequently with their physician. In addition, the majority of physicians (94 percent) stated it would be extremely useful or very useful to have more information and resources to help their type 2 diabetes patients identify and manage hypoglycemia.

Source: MSD Press Release