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INTRODUCTION: Medication therapy for type 2 diabetes has become increasingly complex, and there are few reliable data on the current state of clinical practice. We report treatment pathways and associated costs of medication therapy for people with type 2 diabetes in the UK, their variability and changes over time. METHODS: Prescription and biomarker data for 7159 people with type 2 diabetes were extracted from the GoDARTS cohort study, covering the period 1989-2013. Average follow-up was 10 years. Individuals were prescribed on average 2.4 (SD: 1.2) drugs with average annual costs of £241. We calculated summary statistics for first- and second-line therapies. Linear regression models were used to estimate associations between therapy characteristics and baseline patient characteristics. RESULTS: Average time from diagnosis to first prescription was 3 years (SD: 4.0 years). Almost all first-line therapy (98%) was monotherapy, with average annual cost of £83 (SD: £204) for 3.8 (SD: 3.5) years. Second-line therapy was initiated in 73% of all individuals, at an average annual cost of £219 (SD: £305). Therapies involving insulin were markedly more expensive than other common therapies. Baseline HbA1c was unrelated to future therapy costs, but higher average HbA1c levels over time were associated with higher costs. CONCLUSIONS: Medication therapy has undergone substantial changes during the period covered in this study. For example, therapy is initiated earlier and is less expensive than in the past. The data provided in this study will prove useful for future modelling studies, e.g. of stratified treatment approaches.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Ther

Publication Date





1031 - 1045


Costs, First-line therapy, Medication therapy, Second-line therapy, Therapy initiation, Type 2 diabetes, UK