EU driving regulations may be affecting type 1 treatment, study suggests

Fri, 17 Oct 2014
EU driving regulations have led to fewer type 1 diabetes patients reporting severe hypoglycemia to their health team, according a new study.

According to the regulations, a diabetes patient can lose their license if they report two or more hypoglycemic events within a single year, based on the idea that this poses a risk to other drivers.

However, a new study, published in Diabetes Care, claims that drivers simply aren't reporting their hypoglycemic episodes. Lead author Dr. Ulrik Pedersen-Bjergaard explained that, under the old rules, "The clinician could prohibit driving temporarily based on a general medical judgment. Authorities were informed only if the patient did not comply with the clinician's instructions."

Clinician's, are now given the responsibility of deciding whether or not their patient can keep their driving license. Dr. Pedersen-Bjergaard believes this could damage the relationship between clinicians and their patients. If a patient is unwilling to tell their doctor about a hypoglycemic event, adequate treatment becomes much more difficult to maintain.

The regulations have been in place since 2012, but the findings were published in October 2014. And while this specific study relates to Denmark, Dr. Brian Frier, of the University of Edinburgh, who took part in discussions about how the regulations should be applied in the UK, commented, "This potential issue has not been assessed in the UK as yet, but there is every likelihood that a similar problem exists here."

The difference is, type 1 patients in the UK report hypoglycemic episodes directly to a driving authority. Because of this, the doctor-patient relationship, at least, remains unaffected.
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