OBJECTIVE: In 2019, the European Society of Cardiology led and released new guidelines for diabetes cardiovascular (CV) risk management, reflecting recent evidence of CV disease (CVD) reduction with sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT-2is) and some glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) in type 2 diabetes (T2D). A key recommendation is that all those with T2D who are (antihyperglycemic) drug naïve or on metformin monotherapy should be CVD risk stratified and an SGLT-2i or a GLP-1RA initiated in all those at high or very-high risk, irrespective of glycated hemoglobin. We assessed the impact of these guidelines in Scotland were they introduced as is.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Using a nationwide diabetes register in Scotland, we did a cross-sectional analysis, using variables in our register for risk stratification at 1 January 2019. We were conservative in our definitions, assuming the absence of a risk factor where data were not available. The risk classifications were applied to people who were drug naïve or on metformin monotherapy and the anticipated prescribing change calculated.
RESULTS: Of the 265,774 people with T2D in Scotland, 53,194 (20.0% of T2D) were drug naïve, and 56,906 (21.4%) were on metformin monotherapy. Of these, 74.5% and 72.4%, respectively, were estimated as at least high risk given the guideline risk definitions.
CONCLUSIONS: Thus, 80,830 (30.4%) of all those with T2D (n = 265,774) would start one of these drug classes according to table 7 and figure 3 of the guideline. The sizeable impact on drug budgets, enhanced clinical monitoring, and the trade-off with reduced CVD-related health care costs will need careful consideration.