Barriers in initiating insulin therapy in a South Asian Muslim community

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Aims: Insulin therapy is often required for optimal glycaemic control. Pakistani Patients display reluctance to use insulin. We aimed to determine the reasons for this and to assess impressions after initiation of insulin in our Patients. Methods: Patients with Type 2 diabetes attending Aga Khan Hospital were surveyed using a questionnaire detailing opinions on insulin use. This was a cross-sectional study of two groups, one with no experience with insulin use and the other who were insulin users. Results: Three hundred and seventeen Patients were interviewed, 55.8% male, mean age 53.6 years. Of 210 Patients who had never used insulin, 72.9% felt insulin was a measure of last resort and 45.2% thought that tolerance developed to insulin. Only 45.7% felt insulin would reduce complications, while 24% thought that insulin use would interfere with religious obligations. Thirty-four percent thought that it was difficult or very difficult to learn insulin administration, 41% felt that they could not self-inject even if absolutely necessary and 25% stated they would not use insulin in any circumstances. There was an association of lack of education with negative image of insulin usage. Among 107 Patients using insulin, 52.3% were hesitant before initiation. However, 78.5% noted an improvement in glucose control and 86% said they would recommend insulin to others. Conclusions: Reluctance to use insulin prior to initiation is high, but views improve considerably after insulin initiation. Further awareness of the benefits of insulin use needs to be highlighted and the concerns of our population addressed.


Diabetic Medicine