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Keywords:

  • diabetic patient;
  • insulin;
  • oral glucose-lowering agent;
  • Norway;
  • traffic accident risk

Abstract

Aim  To investigate, at a national level, whether patients using insulin or oral glucose-lowering agents had an increased risk of road traffic accidents compared with non-users.

Methods  All Norwegians aged 18–69 years (3.1 million) were followed from April 2004 until September 2006. Information on drug prescriptions, road traffic accidents and emigration/death was obtained from the following population-based registries: the Prescription Database, the Road Accident Registry and the Central Population Registry. The exposure period was the time from the first prescription of insulin or oral glucose-lowering agent during the study period. The incidence of accidents in the exposed person-time was compared with the incidence of accidents in the unexposed person-time by standardized incidence ratio (SIR).

Results  During the study period, 20 494 road traffic accidents with personal injuries were registered in Norway. One hundred and eighty-three accidents were registered for insulin users not taking oral glucose-lowering agents and 219 for users of oral blood glucose-lowering drugs without insulin. The SIR (95% confidence interval) for all ages and both genders combined were: insulin 1.4 (1.2–1.6), oral glucose-lowering agents 1.2 (1.0–1.3) and users of drugs for peptic ulcer and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (negative comparators) 1.3 (1.2–1.4). The highest SIRs were found among the youngest insulin users (18–34 years old).

Conclusions  A slightly increased risk of being involved in a road traffic accident was observed for drivers prescribed insulin, while no increased risk was observed for drivers prescribed oral glucose-lowering agents. The increased risk observed for insulin users was similar to that observed for users of drugs for peptic ulcer and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.