Prescriber Uncertainty as Opportunity to Improve Care of Type 2 Diabetes with Chronic Kidney Disease: Mixed Methods Study

James H. Flory, Dominique Guelce, Crispin Goytia, Jing Li, Jea Young Min, Al Mushlin, Jeremy Orloff, Victoria Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Over 5 million patients in the United States have type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) with chronic kidney disease (CKD); antidiabetic drug selection for this population is complex and has important implications for outcomes. Objective: To better understand how providers choose antidiabetic drugs in T2D with CKD Design: Mixed methods. Interviews with providers underwent qualitative analysis using grounded theory to identify themes related to antidiabetic drug prescribing. A provider survey used vignettes and direct questions to quantitatively assess prescribers’ knowledge and preferences. A retrospective cohort analysis of real-world prescribing data assessed the external validity of the interview and survey findings. Participants: Primary care physicians, endocrinologists, nurse-practitioners, and physicians’ assistants were eligible for interviews; primary care physicians and endocrinologists were eligible for the survey; prescribing data were derived from adult patients with serum creatinine data. Main Measures: Interviews were qualitative; for the survey and retrospective cohort, proportion of patients receiving metformin was the primary outcome. Key Results: Interviews with 9 providers identified a theme of uncertainty about guidelines for prescribing antidiabetic drugs in patients with T2D and CKD. The survey had 105 respondents: 74 primary care providers and 31 endocrinologists. Metformin was the most common choice for patients with T2D and CKD. Compared to primary care providers, endocrinologists were less likely to prescribe metformin at levels of kidney function at which it is contraindicated and more likely to correctly answer a question about metformin’s contraindications (71% versus 41%) (p <.05). Real-world data were consistent with survey findings, and further showed low rates of use of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (<10%) in patients with eGFR below 60 ml/min/1.73m2. Conclusions: Providers are unsure how to treat T2D with CKD and incompletely informed as to existing guidelines. This suggests opportunities to improve care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1476-1483
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2023


  • chronic kidney disease
  • drugs
  • metformin
  • provider preference
  • type 2 diabetes


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