Abstract: There are no data on physician–patient communication in painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pDPN) in the Asia–Pacific region. The objective of this study was to examine patient and physician perceptions of pDPN and clinical practice behaviors in five countries in South-East Asia. Primary care physicians and practitioners, endocrinologists, diabetologists, and patients with pDPN completed separate surveys on pDPN diagnosis, impact, management, and physician–patient interactions in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. Data were obtained from 100 physicians and 100 patients in each country. The majority of physicians (range across countries, 30–85%) were primary care physicians and practitioners. Patients were mostly aged 18–55 years and had been diagnosed with diabetes for >5 years. Physicians believed pDPN had a greater impact on quality of life than did patients (ranges 83–92% and 39–72%, respectively), but patients believed pDPN had a greater impact on items such as sleep, anxiety, depression, and work than physicians. Physicians considered the diagnosis and treatment of pDPN a low priority, which may be reflected in the generally low incidence of screening (range 12–65%) and a lack of awareness of pDPN. Barriers to treatment included patients’ lack of awareness of pDPN. Both physicians and patients agreed that pain scales and local language descriptions were the most useful tools in helping to describe patients’ pain. Most patients were monitored upon diagnosis of pDPN (range 55–97%), but patients reported a shorter duration of monitoring compared with physicians. Both physicians and patients agreed that it was patients who initiated conversations on pDPN. Physicians most commonly referred to guidelines from the American Diabetes Association or local guidelines for the management of pDPN. This study highlights important differences between physician and patient perceptions of pDPN, which may impact on its diagnosis and treatment. For a chronic and debilitating complication like pDPN, the physician–patient dialogue is central to maximizing patient outcomes. Strategies, including education of both groups, need to be developed to improve communication. Funding: Pfizer.
- Chronic pain
- Painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy
- Patient–physician dialogue
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)