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Adherence to medication is very high in Twente diabetes patients

Diabetes is one of the most prevalent illnesses in the Netherlands. Over a million Dutch people suffer from Type 2 diabetes, a disease often diagnosed in older age and is often complicated by cardiovascular disorders. Adherence to the medication is of great importance in preventing these disorders, as is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Supervised by lead researcher Prof. dr. Goos Laverman of the University of Twente, medical student Jelle Beernink (Utrecht University) investigated the therapy adherence among patients in the Twente region. The results of his research were published online this week in the leading journal Diabetes Care. Beernink: “Our research shows that Twente patients are extremely compliant in taking their medication for Type 2 diabetes.” 

Beernink found that the patients’ intake compliance with a variety of medications, including blood glucose lowering agents and antihypertensive drugs, was approximately 90% – a figure regarded as very high. The study also underlined the vital importance of the correct intake of medication, as the small group of patients who had difficulty maintaining adherence also suffered more cardiovascular problems.

Therapy adherence in this study was determined using an innovative technique known as liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, which detects the presence of medication in a patient’s urine. 

Lead researcher Goos Laverman, internist-nephrologist and professor at UT’s Technical Medical Centre, explains, “We know that people with Type 2 diabetes have trouble sticking to a healthy lifestyle. But their high adherence with drug therapy shows that they are clearly motivated to improve their health. Why is their therapy compliance so high? We think that the fact that Dutch pharmacies generally supply this medication automatically makes a significant contribution. The urine analysis enabled us to establish objectively that the medications they supplied were actually being taken.”

More information

This study, part of the Diabetes and Lifestyle Cohort Twente (DIALECT), was carried out by Jelle Beernink, a medical student at Utrecht University. To determine therapy compliance, the ZGT hospital group and the University of Twente (EEMCS department) collaborated with researchers at the University of Leicester (UK), who measured the presence of medications in the urine of the 468 participants. For more information, contact Jelle Beernink at

drs. M.M.J. van Hillegersberg - Hofmans (Martine)
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