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Now taking diabetic pills

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults age 18 and older who have ever been told they have diabetes or prediabetes, DIAPILLS reports responses to the question, "Are you now taking diabetic pills to lower your blood sugar? These are sometimes called oral agents or oral hypoglycemic agents."

Respondents who received the question associated with DIAPILLS were also asked if they were currently taking insulin (INSULIN). Insulin cannot be taken orally; instead, it must be injected through shots or other devices such as insulin pens, jet injectors, or pumps.


Apart from universe changes, the DIAPILLS variable is completely comparable between 1997 and 2018. Questionnaire changes introduced in 2019 may affect comparability with earlier years.

Universe Changes 

In 1997-2005, the question for DIAPILLS was asked of sample adults who were ever told by a doctor or other health professional that they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy) (DIABETICEV). In 2006, the question was asked of all sample adults. The 2006 Field Representative's Manual provides the following explanation for the universe change put in place that year:

Because medical care is changing to prevent diabetes, NIDDK [National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease] wants to assess the use of diabetes medications by people not yet diagnosed with diabetes. Therefore, all sample adults, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with diabetes, will be asked whether they NOW take insulin and whether they NOW take diabetic pills.

In 2007, the universe for DIAPILLS was redefined to cover sample adults who had ever been told they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy) or that they had a prediabetic condition, including prediabetes, impaired fasting glucose tolerance, borderline diabetes, or high blood sugar (DIAPRECOND).

Questionnaire design changes introduced in 2019 limit comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1976: Persons with some type of diabetes.
  • 1997-2005: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had diabetes (other than during pregnancy).
  • 2006: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2007-2018: Sample adults age 18+ who were ever told they had diabetes or a prediabetic condition (other than during pregnancy).
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ who were told they had diabetes (except gestational diabetes) or prediabetes.


  • 1976, 1997-2022