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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Patients confused by diabetes testing

The British Medical Journal has published a qualitative analysis (PDF) into the views of patients with type 2 diabetes about self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG). The BBC has reported this study.

The study recruited 18 patients with a recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Interviews were conducted at regular intervals over a 4 year period to gain an insight into patients' feelings about SMBG.

The study found that patients' use of self monitoring decreases over time and they find results difficult to interpret and act on. Previous studies have identified that SMBG does not improve glycaemic control.

Action: This qualitative study highlights the confusion that SMBG can cause for patients and clinicians. Clinicians should ensure that where SMBG is recommended, clear goals should be agreed with the patient and educational support about SMBG should be continued.

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