New research from Australia finds children with Type 1 diabetes find it difficult to adhere to their drug routines during school holidays and weekends.
Holiday distractions cause a 20% reduction in adherence to taking medications that assist in managing their condition and other associated conditions, which may have serious consequences for their health.
“The research shows that children with Type 1 diabetes find it especially difficult to take their metformin tablets in addition to insulin during school holidays,” says Dr. Alexia Peña, senior lecturer from The University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute and Paediatric Endocrinologist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Peña adds that chronic non-communicable diseases, including T1D, are increasingly prevalent in childhood and treatment is becoming more complex with combination therapies being common to manage the disease and associated conditions.
How was the Study Conducted?
The 12-month study involving 90 children from Adelaide aged 8-18 years, utilized data gathered from electronic dose monitoring devices which provided a reliable continuous dosing history by recording the date and time a child accesses their medications. This data was supported by tablet counting.
Researchers found there was approximately a 20% reduction in treatment adherence during school holidays, weekends and public holidays in children with Type 1 diabetes.
“As school holidays and weekends account for 25% and 30%, respectively, of a calendar year in Australia, the impact of non-adherence to medical treatment in childhood has serious consequences for an individual’s health and substantially increases demand and expenditure on health systems,” Peña says.
In addition, he says a 25% reduction in adherence has been associated with significant increases in hospitalization and mortality in adults with Type 1 diabetes.
He says clinicians should be aware of adherence issues during holidays and weekends. Targeted reminders and additional strategies are necessary to improve adherence during these less structured periods for school children and their families.
These will ensure benefit from their treatment especially in children with chronic conditions.
This is the first study of children with Type 1 diabetes. Similar challenges of adhering to drug therapies were found in a study of children with cystic fibrosis which suggests that these problems may extend to other chronic diseases, according to Peña.
The research was supported by Diabetes Australia, Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Care, and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The research has been published in the Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
The University of Adelaide.
- The University of Adelaide. Holidays disrupt drug routines of children with diabetes. (May 24, 2019). EurekAlert! Retrieved: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/uoa-hdd052319.php