Our Centre’s research shows how experiences and expectations may shape attitudes to future use of insulin treatment
For people with type 2 diabetes, there is a class of medication called glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs). It is not a tablet. It is an injection. But, it’s not insulin. GLP-1RAs offer benefits for reducing glucose levels, weight and for cardiovascular health. Importantly, it doesn’t cause low glucose (hypos). Unfortunately, there can be some short-term side effects, e.g. nausea, vomiting.
Research shows that awareness of common concerns and experiences of diabetes medication use is important for improving clinical care and support.
While we know a lot about the experiences of insulin use among Australian adults, very little is known about their experiences and expectations of GLP-1RAs.
To find out more, Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott and colleagues asked 19 Australian adults with type 2 diabetes to share their recent experiences with GLP-1RAs. Here’s what they found:
- Beliefs and attitudes about insulin influence initial concerns about GLP-1RAs. People fear that GLP-1RA use means that their diabetes is getting worse. They also worry about other people judging them if they need to inject in public.
- Some people find injections less painful than they expected. So, they become less nervous about using a needle after a short trial.
- People view GLP-1RA use more positively when it does not disrupt their daily routines. Weekly injections are seen as more convenient than daily injections.
- When the GLP-1RA treatment has the expected benefits (e.g. reducing glucose levels), emotional well-being improves. However, unmet expectations can lead to disappointment and sometimes to stopping the treatment.
- Experiences of side effects vary. Some people have no side effects while others feel nauseous. These side effects often disappear after a few weeks.
This study shows that concerns about GLP-1RA are similar to concerns raised about insulin use in previous research. For health professionals, early discussions of GLP-1RA treatment are a good opportunity to address concerns. This may also help support future use of insulin treatment if it is needed.
Citation: Holmes-Truscott E, Schipp J, Dunning T, Furler J, Hagger V, Holloway E, Manski-Nankervis JA, Shaw JE, Skinner TC, Speight J. ‘For me, it didn’t seem as drastic a step as being controlled by insulin’: a qualitative investigation of expectations and experiences of non-insulin injectable therapy among adults with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 2022, 39(2): https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.14681Print This Post