Regional differences in antihyperglycemic medication are not explained by individual socioeconomic status, regional deprivation, and regional health care services. Observational results from the German DIAB-CORE consortium.
Aims This population-based study sought to extend knowledge on factors explaining regional differences in type 2 diabetes mellitus medication patterns in Germany. Methods Individual baseline and follow-up data from four regional population-based German cohort studies (SHIP [northeast], CARLA [east], HNR [west], KORA [south]) conducted between 1997 and 2010 were pooled and merged with both data on regional deprivation and regional health care services. To analyze regional differences in any or newer anti-hyperglycemic medication, medication prevalence ratios (PRs) were estimated using multivariable Poisson regression models with a robust error variance adjusted gradually for individual and regional variables. Results The study population consisted of 1,437 people aged 45 to 74 years at baseline, (corresponding to 49 to 83 years at follow-up) with self-reported type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of receiving any anti-hyperglycemic medication was 16% higher in KORA (PR 1.16 [1.08 +/- 1.25]), 10% higher in CARLA (1.10 [1.01 +/- 1.18]), and 7% higher in SHIP (PR 1.07 [1.00 +/- 1.15]) than in HNR. The prevalence of receiving newer anti-hyperglycemic medication was 49% higher in KORA (1.49 [1.09 +/- 2.05]), 41% higher in CARLA (1.41 [1.02 +/- 1.96]) and 1% higher in SHIP (1.01 [0.72 +/- 1.41]) than in HNR, respectively. After gradual adjustment for individual variables, regional deprivation and health care services, the effects only changed slightly. Conclusions Neither comprehensive individual factors including socioeconomic status nor regional deprivation or indicators of regional health care services were able to sufficiently explain regional differences in anti-hyperglycemic treatment in Germany. To understand the underlying causes, further research is needed.