Mental health symptoms and patient-reported diabetes symptom burden: Implications for medication regimen changes

Dara H. Sorkin, John Billimek, Kristin J. August, Quyen Ngo-Metzger, Sherrie H. Kaplan, Andrew R. Reikes, Sheldon Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aims. To examine the relative contribution of glycaemic control (HbA1C) and depressive symptoms on diabetes-related symptom burden (hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia) in order to guide medication modification. Methods. Secondary analysis of medical records data and questionnaires collected from a racially/ ethnically diverse sample of adult patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 710) from seven outpatient clinics affiliated with an academic medical centre over a 1-year period as part of the Reducing Racial Disparities in Diabetes: Coached Care (R2D2C2) study. Results. Results from linear regression analysis revealed that patients with high levels of depressive symptoms had more diabetes-related symptom burden (both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia) than patients with low levels of depressive symptoms (βs = 0.09-0.17, Ps < 0.02). Furthermore, results from two logistic regression analyses suggested that the odds of regimen intensification at 1-year follow-up was marginally associated with patient-reported symptoms of hypoglycaemia [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.24, 95% CI: 0.98-1.58; P = 0.08] and hyperglycaemia (aOR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.00- 1.46; P = 0.05), after controlling for patients' HbA1C, comorbidity, insulin use and demographics. These associations, however, were diminished for patients with high self-reported hypoglycaemia and high levels of depressive symptoms, but not low depressive symptoms (interaction terms for hypoglycaemia by depressive symptoms, aOR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97-0.99; P = 0.03). Conclusions. Mental health symptoms are associated with higher levels of patient-reported of diabetes-related symptoms, but the association between diabetes-related symptoms and subsequent regimen modifications is diminished in patients with greater depressive symptoms. Clinicians should focus attention on identifying and treating patients' mental health concerns in order to address the role of diabetes-related symptom burden in guiding physician medication prescribing behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalFamily practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • Diabetes-related symptom burden
  • Mental health
  • Physician medication prescribing behaviour
  • Type 2 diabetes


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