Spanish-speaking patients with diabetes are not as likely to take their prescribed medications

More about language and diabetes

Latino patients with little English ability may be less likely to take their prescribed medications for diabetes compared to other diabetics in the United States. This study looked at 31,000 patients with diabetes and insurance and found that 60% of Spanish-speaking Latino patients did not fill their prescriptions at least 20% of the time. This happened in the two years after their doctors told them that they needed to take the drugs to help control and manage their diabetes. English-speaking Latinos and white patients were more likely to fill their prescriptions.

There is some debate in terms of whether seeing a Spanish-speaking doctor makes a difference in diabetes care for Latino patients with limited English. However, this study found that it did make a difference. For example, Latino patients with limited English had better blood sugar control when they switched from English-speaking to Spanish-speaking doctors. In fact, there was a 10% improvement in healthy blood sugar control for the Latino patients who switched to Spanish-speaking doctors. As a result, researchers agree that it is very important to have a primary care doctor that speaks your language because it may improve diabetes care and management. For Latinos with limited English who are newly diagnosed with diabetes, it should be a priority to find them access to Spanish-speaking doctors.

[Abstract Link]

Photo credit Mil Familias © 2018