Glucose-lowering drug use in migrants and native Danes with type 2 diabetes: Disparities in combination therapy and drug types

Anders Aasted Isaksen*, Annelli Sandbæk, Mette Vinther Skriver, Lasse Bjerg Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Aim: To examine disparities in glucose-lowering drug (GLD) usage between migrants and native Danes with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Materials and Methods: In a nationwide, register-based cross-sectional study of 253 364 individuals with prevalent T2D on December 31, 2018, we examined user prevalence during 2019 of (i) GLD combination therapies and (ii) individual GLD types. Migrants were grouped by origin (Middle East, Europe, Turkey, Former Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Vietnam), and relative risk (RR) versus native Danes was computed using robust Poisson regression to adjust for clinical and socioeconomic characteristics. Results: In 2019, 34.7% of native Danes received combination therapy, and prevalence was lower in most migrant groups (RR from 0.78, 95% confidence interval CI 0.71-0.85 [Somalia group] to 1.00, 95% CI 0.97-1.04 [former Yugoslavia group]). Among native Danes, the most widely used oral GLD was metformin (used by 62.1%), followed by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (13.3%), sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (11.9%) and sulphonylureas (5.2%), and user prevalence was higher in most migrant groups (RR for use of any oral GLD: 0.99, 95% CI 0.97-1.01 [Europe group] to 1.09, 95% CI 1.06-1.11 [Sri Lanka group]). Furthermore, 18.7% of native Danes used insulins and 13.3% used glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), but use was less prevalent in migrants (RR for insulins: 0.66, 95% CI 0.62-0.71 [Sri Lanka group] to 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.99 [Europe group]; RR for GLP-1RAs: 0.29, 95% CI 0.22-0.39 [Somalia group] to 0.95, 95% CI 0.89-1.01 [Europe group]). Conclusions: Disparities in GLD types and combination therapy were evident between migrants and native Danes. Migrants were more likely to use oral GLDs and less likely to use injection-based GLDs, particularly GLP-1RAs, which may contribute to complication risk and mortality among this group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Pages (from-to)3307-3316
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • GLP-1 analogue
  • antidiabetic drug
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • population study
  • primary care
  • type 2 diabetes


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