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Benefits and harms of intensive glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes

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Diabetes is a significant and expensive health concern worldwide, with excessive morbidity, incapacity, mortality, and impaired high quality of life. The overwhelming majority of folks dwelling with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Historically, the primary technique to scale back problems of type 2 diabetes has been intensive glycemic control. However, the body of proof reveals no significant profit of intensive (in contrast with reasonable) glycemic control for microvascular and macrovascular outcomes vital to patients, with the exception of diminished charges of non-fatal myocardial infarction. Intensive glycemic control does, nonetheless, improve the chance of extreme hypoglycemia and incurs extra burden by manner of polypharmacy, unwanted side effects, and value. Additionally, information from cardiovascular outcomes trials confirmed that cardiovascular, kidney, and mortality outcomes could also be improved with use of particular courses of glucose decreasing medicine largely independently of their glycemic results. Therefore, delivering proof based mostly, affected person centered care to folks with type 2 diabetes requires a paradigm shift and departure from the predominantly glucocentric view of diabetes administration. Instead of prioritizing intensive glycemic control, the main target must be on guaranteeing entry to ample diabetes care, aligning glycemic targets to patients’ targets and conditions, minimizing brief time period and long run problems, lowering the burden of remedy, and bettering high quality of life.


The ethos of this overview is aligned with up to date tips, which advocate that the person with diabetes is on the forefront of the choice making course of.1234567 However, tips usually attain discordant conclusions about desired glycemic targets and/or fall brief of specifying why, how, and with what instruments individualization of diabetes care can virtually be achieved.235678 This overview gives a complete abstract of the proof on the advantages and harms of intensive glycemic control for non-pregnant adults with type 2 diabetes. It gives sensible recommendation on how patients and clinicians can mix one of the best accessible proof on diabetes administration with patients’ wants, targets, values, preferences, and scientific and psychosocial contexts.


Diabetes is, worldwide, the main trigger of blindness, non-traumatic decrease extremity amputations, peripheral neuropathy, and finish stage kidney illness and is a significant danger issue for atherosclerotic heart problems (ASCVD) and ASCVD mortality, which accounts for 43% of all diabetes associated deaths in folks youthful than 70 years of age.910111213 Globally, greater than 425 million individuals are dwelling with diabetes, and its prevalence is predicted to extend no less than 50% by 2045.1415 Diabetes was chargeable for one dying each eight seconds in 2017 and accounted for a world expenditure of $727bn (£590bn; €662bn) or $11 638 per person.14 The relentless surge in diabetes is multifactorial, pushed by the rising prevalence of weight problems, adjustments in dietary and bodily exercise patterns, and an getting older inhabitants.16 Improving health outcomes, guaranteeing entry to care, assuaging the burden of illness, and containing the prices of diabetes and its problems are subsequently a prime precedence for patients, clinicians, health programs, and societies.

The overwhelming majority of folks with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, characterised by progressive insulin resistance and subsequent hyperglycemia.17 Early epidemiologic research in type 2 diabetes urged that the long run danger of microvascular and macrovascular problems will increase progressively as glucose concentrations rise,181920 inspiring the pursuit of close to euglycemia as a method of stopping these problems in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This glucocentric method was bolstered by early giant randomized managed trials (RCTs) of intensive glucose decreasing remedy—the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)21 amongst patients with type 1 diabetes and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS)22 amongst patients with newly or lately recognized type 2 diabetes—which confirmed reductions in the early manifestations of microvascular problems with intensive glycemic control.23 Importantly, these trials outlined intensive control by plasma glucose quite than glycohemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) targets: fasting glucose 70-120 mg/dL (3.9-6.7 mmol/L) and postprandial glucose under 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) in the DCCT intensive remedy arm21; and fasting glucose under 106 mg/dL (<6 mmol/L) versus under 270 mg/dL (<15 mmol/L) in the UKPDS intensive and normal remedy arms, respectively.22 However, most scientific tips then used these outcomes to advocate intensive control as outlined by HbA1c under 6.5-7.0% (48-53 mmol/mol),24252627 extrapolating from improved outcomes achieved by patients who had imply HbA1c 7.0% (53 mmol/mol) in contrast with 9.0% (75 mmol/mol) in DCCT or 7.9% (63 mmol/mol) in UKPDS.2223

Evidence rising over the previous decade, nonetheless, confirmed that the aggressive efforts usually wanted to realize low HbA1c ranges can in the end result in worse scientific outcomes, better danger of extreme hypoglycemia, and larger burden of remedy.2628293031 At the identical time, for many adults with established type 2 diabetes and excessive danger of ASCVD, the benefit of pursuing intensive (HbA1c <6-7% (42-53 mmol/mol), relying on the trial) in contrast with typical (HbA1c 7-8.5% (53-69 mmol/mol)) glycemic targets on laborious outcomes vital to patients (outcomes that patients recognize and worth, in distinction to surrogate or intermediate outcomes) could also be negligible.30313233 More lately, cardiovascular consequence trials (CVOTs) designed to look at the cardiovascular security of glucose decreasing medicine, confirmed that microvascular (for instance, kidney)3435363738394041 and macrovascular (for instance, ASCVD, coronary heart failure)35363742434445 health outcomes might be meaningfully improved with out considerably decreasing the HbA1c. As the paradigm of diabetes administration shifts from centering on glucose to general danger of problems, an pressing want exists to systematically re-examine and contextualize the present body of proof on glycemic control in the care of folks with type 2 diabetes.

Sources and choice standards

With the help of an skilled librarian, we did a complete literature seek for research evaluating intensive versus typical glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes in PubMed/Medline, Google Scholar, and Web of Science. We recognized and reviewed English language RCTs, observational follow-up research of these RCTs, systematic evaluations, and meta-analyses from 1 January 1970 to 15 June 2019. Search phrases with managed vocabulary used have been “intensive”, “tight”, “conventional”, “standard”, “glycemic control”, and “type 2 diabetes”. We excluded the UGDP trial,46 because it was stopped early owing to hurt and the info dealing with was controversial. Data from the UGDP trial, nonetheless, was represented in some of the meta-analyses included in this overview. We additionally included revealed CVOTs that targeted on the cardiovascular security of glucose decreasing medicine. We additionally searched clinicaltrials.gov for ongoing trials evaluating intensive glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Using the identical timeframe and databases, we reviewed authentic analysis articles and commentaries discussing shared determination making and minimally disruptive medication. We examined the latest consensus statements and tips from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), American College of Endocrinology (ACE), American College of Physicians (ACP), US Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense (VA/DoD), and American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA).23567847 We reviewed the ultimate manuscript checklist for completeness and added extra manuscripts recognized by the examine group and consulted consultants in the sphere.

We outlined intensive glycemic control as a remedy technique used to focus on HbA1c 6.5-7.0% (48-53 mmol/mol) or under, irrespective of the quantity and type of medicine used, and typical glycemic control as focusing on HbA1c above 7.0% (53 mmol/mol) however under 8.0-8.5 (64-69 mmol/mol). Risk of bias evaluation was achieved independently and in duplicate utilizing model 2.0 of the Cochrane danger of bias software for randomized trials included in the overview (RoB 2).48

Early proof for intensive glycemic control in type 2 diabetes

In epidemiologic research, power hyperglycemia is related with heightened danger of microvascular and macrovascular problems of diabetes which can be vital to patients, together with finish stage kidney illness,49 proliferative retinopathy/blindness,50 scientific neuropathy,11 amputations,51 stroke,52 myocardial infarction,18 coronary heart failure,53 and ASCVD and all trigger mortality.54 However, though greater than 10 pathophysiologic mechanisms have been attributed to diabetes,55 its analysis and monitoring rely virtually completely on elevated blood glucose concentrations based mostly on its epidemiologic affiliation with retinopathy,56 the primary diabetes defining complication. The rational speculation that treating to close euglycemia would decrease the chance of problems was subsequently pursued from the early 1960s till the 1990s, when it was bolstered by extrapolation of the optimistic findings of the DCCT.21 The DCCT, performed amongst patients with type 1 diabetes, was the primary RCT to particularly look at intensive glycemic control by focusing on fasting glucose 70-120 mg/dL (3.9-6.7 mmol/L) and postprandial glucose under 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) in contrast with contemporaneous traditional care. Positive findings in this trial are sometimes used to rationalize pursuit of intensive glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, regardless of clear and substantial variations between the 2 illnesses. The first examine to particularly look at intensive glycemic control amongst adults with type 2 diabetes was the Kumamoto examine,57 in which 110 non-insulin handled patients with diabetes have been randomized to 1 or two injections of intermediate performing insulin every day with the purpose of not displaying signs of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, or to a number of every day insulin injections with a goal HbA1c as near 7% (53 mmol/mol) as attainable. Multiple every day insulin injections resulted in 10-25% absolute danger reductions in neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy at six years. The conclusion of the Kumamoto examine was that the optimum glycemic thresholds to forestall incident and progressive microvascular illness have been HbA1c under 6.5% (48 mmol/mol), fasting glucose under 110 mg/dL (6.1 mmol/L), and two hour postprandial glucose under 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L).57 Shortly thereafter, the a lot bigger UKPDS trial performed in 3867 adults with newly recognized type 2 diabetes confirmed that intensive, in contrast with typical, glycemic control resulted in 3.2% absolute danger discount in all diabetes associated problems at 10 years.22 These trials, in addition to the DCCT,21 bolstered the paradigm of decreasing glucose to close regular concentrations and led to most contemporaneous scientific observe tips endorsing a goal HbA1c under 7.0% (53 mml/mol) in all patients with diabetes.24252627

Over the previous twenty years, a number of RCTs have been carried out to higher look at the impact of intensive glycemic control on microvascular and macrovascular endpoints and mortality (table 1 and table 2). These have been collated and summarized by 13 systematic evaluations and meta-analyses, encompassing 24 RCTs and 37 167 patients, inspecting the advantages and potential harms of intensive versus typical glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes (fig 1; supplementary desk).3031323374757677787980818283 Most vary from low danger of bias to some issues about bias (supplementary determine A).2257585960616263646566676869707172738485 In the sections that observe, we present abstract information of the findings as they pertain to microvascular and macrovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes.

Table 1

Main information from pivotal randomized managed trials included in systematic evaluations with meta-analyses of intensive versus typical glycemic control in type 2 diabetes

Table 2

Main information from pivotal randomized managed trials included in systematic evaluations with meta-analyses of intensive versus typical glycemic control in type 2 diabetes (continuation)

Fig 1
Fig 1

Point estimates and 95% CIs for various outcomes reported in systematic evaluations with meta-analyses of intensive v typical glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. CCG=typical glycemic control; ICG=intensive glycemic control

Microvascular outcomes

None of the 9 systematic evaluations (12 trials comprising 36 179 members) at reasonable to low danger of bias discovered profit of intensive glycemic control on microvascular outcomes vital to patients, resembling finish stage kidney illness, scientific neuropathy, or blindness.3074787980818283 Whereas Herrera-Gómez et al confirmed a 38% relative danger discount (0.62, 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 0.98) for renal dying with decrease HbA1c,83 this discovering was not constant with the 1% (0.55 to 1.79) danger discount for this identical consequence beforehand reported by Coca et al,78 seemingly as a result of Coca et al included each UKPDS 33 and 34 in their analyses.2258 However, constant enchancment was seen in surrogate microvascular endpoints resembling microalbuminuria, macroalbuminuria, and photocoagulation. Specifically, two systematic evaluations discovered a 10-14% relative danger discount for microalbuminuria,3078 and one (of three) systematic evaluations confirmed a 9-14% relative danger discount for photocoagulation.308081 Additionally, Coca et al reported a 26% relative discount in the chance of macroalbuminuria however no vital impact on a extra significant consequence of doubling of serum creatinine (supplementary desk).78

Macrovascular outcomes

Evidence for macrovascular outcomes comes primarily from 9 systematic evaluations of 19 reasonable to prime quality RCTs that included 35 450 members.303133747576778082 None confirmed enchancment in ASCVD or all trigger mortality, stroke, or decrease extremity amputations with intensive versus typical glycemic control. However, a constant 9-18% relative discount in the chance of non-fatal myocardial infarction was seen with intensive glycemic control (fig 1; supplementary desk).


Seven systematic evaluations inspecting 12 trials (33 509 members) at low to reasonable danger of bias constantly reported a twofold to threefold improve in the chance of extreme hypoglycemia with intensive glycemic control (fig 1; supplementary desk).30317475768082 Other harms, though burdensome to patients and acknowledged by clinicians, have been not often detailed in RCTs or systematic evaluations. Montori et al reported a 1-4% absolute improve in weight with intensive in contrast with typical glycemic control, and Ray et al reported a weight improve of 2.5 kg (supplementary desk). Notably, these trials have been performed in an period when probably the most generally used second line glucose decreasing medicine (sulfonylureas and insulin) led to weight acquire; extra lately authorised medicine (resembling sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors) might not trigger weight acquire however might produce other opposed results. Other opposed sequelae of intensive glycemic control raised by observational research, together with elevated burden of remedy, misery as a consequence of diabetes, larger prices of care, and larger prevalence of polypharmacy, weren’t captured by the systematic evaluations and meta-analyses or examined in the RCTs.298687

Cardiovascular consequence trials

ASCVD stays the main trigger of dying amongst folks with diabetes88; almost one third of folks with diabetes have established ASCVD and 62% have no less than two danger elements for ASCVD.8990 After rosiglitazone was linked to elevated danger of cardiovascular occasions and mortality,91 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated, in 2008, that each one subsequently authorised glucose decreasing medicine should exhibit cardiovascular security throughout post-marketing surveillance.92 Since then, 15 trials have been reported for thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1R agonists, SGLT-2 inhibitors, and ultra-long performing insulin (table 3 and table 4).100 All RCTs have been designed to realize glycemic equipoise and exhibit non-inferiority,34353637394243449394979899 and in some instances superiority,459596 with respect to cardiovascular security in contrast with both energetic or placebo controls. Most (22-100%) patients included had a earlier cardiovascular occasion or have been at excessive cardiovascular danger.3435363739424393949596979899 All however one of the CVOTs had an general low danger of bias (supplementary determine B).

Table 3

Main information from cardiovascular consequence trials in type 2 diabetes

Table 4

Main information from cardiovascular consequence trials in type 2 diabetes (continuation)

The first CVOTs efficiently demonstrated non-inferiority with respect to cardiovascular occasions and mortality,93949596 however a significant breakthrough got here in 2015 when the EMPA-REG examine confirmed a big 14% relative danger discount (hazard ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.74 to 0.99; P=0.04 for superiority) in main cardiovascular occasions (all trigger mortality, cardiovascular mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and stroke) with use of the SGLT-2 inhibitor empagliflozin regardless of minimal relative discount in HbA1c in contrast with the comparator arm (7.6% v 8%).42 This discovering was strengthened by the following LEADER (liraglutide, a GLP-1R agonist; hazard ratio 0.87 (0.78 to 0.97; P=0.01 for superiority) for the three level main cardiovascular occasion (MACE) consequence of dying from cardiovascular causes, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and non-fatal stroke),35 SUSTAIN-6 (semaglutide, a GLP-1R agonist; hazard ratio 0.74 (0.58 to 0.95; P<0.001 for non-inferiority) for the three level MACE),36 and CANVAS (canagliflozin, an SGLT-2 inhibitor; hazard ratio 0.86 (0.75 to 0.97; P=0.02 for superiority) for the three level MACE) trials. The DECLARE TIMI-55 trial (dapagliflozin, an SGLT-2 inhibitor) failed to indicate superiority in the first three level MACE however did present decrease charges of hospital admission for coronary heart failure (hazard ratio 0.73, 0.61 to 0.88).39 More lately, the REWIND trial (dulaglutide, a GLP-1R agonist) confirmed a discount in the three level MACE (hazard ratio 0.88, 0.79 to 0.99; P=0.026 for superiority).45 In response to those information, the FDA expanded indications for liraglutide, empagliflozin, and canagliflozin to incorporate heart problems,101 and scientific observe tips started to acknowledge the non-glycemic advantages of these drug courses and advocate their use independently of the only real have to decrease HbA1c.2102103104

The CVOTs additionally confirmed renal advantages with use of GLP-1R agonists and SGLT-2 inhibitors that have been equally impartial of glycemic discount. For GLP-1R agonists, in the ELIXA trial, lixisenatide resulted in a 10% better share change in urinary albumin to creatinine ratio in contrast with the control group.34 LEADER investigators reported a 22% relative danger discount (hazard ratio 0.78, 0.67 to 0.92) in the chance of a composite renal consequence (new onset macroalbuminuria, doubling of serum creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration fee (eGFR) ≤45 mL/min/m2, want for renal substitute remedy, or renal dying) in the liraglutide arm.35 The SUSTAIN-6 trial (semaglutide) reported a hazard ratio of 0.64 (0.46 to 0.88) for a composite of macroalbuminuria, doubling of serum creatinine, eGFR 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 or decrease, or want for dialysis.36 Dulaglutide, in the REWIND trial, confirmed 15% relative discount (hazard ratio 0.85, 0.77 to 0.93) in the chance of new macroalbuminuria, sustained decline in eGFR of no less than 30%, or want for power renal substitute remedy.41 Similarly, for SGLT-2 inhibitors, the CANVAS trial of canagliflozin reported reductions in the development of albuminuria (hazard ratio 0.73, 0.67 to 0.79) and in the composite of no less than 40% discount in eGFR, want for renal substitute remedy, or renal dying (0.60, 0.47 to 0.77).37 The DECLARE-TIMI 58 trial of dapagliflozin reported a 24% relative discount (hazard ratio 0.76, 0.67 to 0.87) in the composite danger of no less than 40% discount in eGFR, eGFR 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 or decrease, dialysis, or dying as a consequence of renal causes.39

Because these trials have been particularly designed to check the cardiovascular security of new glucose decreasing medicine, with related HbA1c ranges achieved in the intervention and comparator arms by examine design,100 variation in examine endpoints might be attributed to the examine drug, quite than the presumed profit of HbA1c discount.100105 Moreover, imply HbA1c achieved in the intervention arms of CVOTs with demonstrable cardiovascular and/or renal advantages was constantly better than 7.0% (53 mmol/mol), reinforcing the advantages of reasonable glycemic control.

Interpretation of the proof

The body of proof stemming from systematic evaluations and meta-analyses of RCTs (all at reasonable to low danger of bias) suggests no demonstrable profit of intensive (HbA1c <7.0%) versus reasonable (HbA1c 7-8.5%) glycemic control on microvascular (for instance, finish stage kidney illness, renal dying, blindness, scientific neuropathy) and macrovascular (for instance, all trigger mortality, cardiovascular mortality, non-fatal stroke, amputations) outcomes vital to patients, with the exception of a 9-18% relative discount in the chance of non-fatal myocardial infarction.303133747576778082 Although reductions in surrogate microvascular endpoints have been extra constant (10-14%, 26%, and 10-20% relative danger reductions for microalbuminuria, macroalbuminuria, and photocoagulation, respectively),307881 these outcomes are usually not as significant to patients and don’t essentially translate to downstream enhancements in their corresponding laborious endpoints.106 At the identical time, intensive glycemic control—or, extra particularly, the aggressive glucose decreasing remedy that’s usually wanted to realize low HbA1c targets—outcomes in a twofold to threefold (200-300% relative danger) improve in the chance of extreme hypoglycemia. Intensive glucose decreasing remedy has extra harms, together with elevated danger of opposed drug reactions, polypharmacy, remedy burden, and excessive prices of care,298687 however these opposed results can’t be adequately captured by RCTs and haven’t been totally examined in observational actual world research.

Most,467103104 however not all,8 tips mission a excessive diploma of confidence associated to the advantages of intensive glycemic control on microvascular outcomes and low confidence associated to macrovascular outcomes, when the proof reveals the other. Furthermore, outcomes of the CVOTs can’t be used to justify intensive glycemic control as a result of they didn’t look at it; as a substitute, they confirmed that it’s the means of controlling hyperglycemia to realize reasonable HbA1c targets—not intensive control to realize low HbA1c targets—that will in the end enhance laborious microvascular (renal) and macrovascular (ASCVD, coronary heart failure) outcomes.

The use of composite outcomes might have contributed to blurred interpretations of the treat-to-target trials and the presumption of significant profit from intensive glycemic control.107108 For occasion, the first endpoint in the UKPDS trial—a 14 part indicator of “any diabetes related complications”—was diminished by 3.2% (absolute charges of 35.2% in the intensive group versus 38.4% in the standard group) after 10 years.22 However, virtually the whole lot of this danger discount was pushed by decrease charges of retinal photocoagulation and cataract extraction (roughly 2.7% absolute danger discount), with negligible results on endpoints of far better significance resembling mortality, stroke, blindness, amputation, or finish stage kidney illness.2232 Similarly, the ADVANCE trial reported a 10% relative danger discount (1.9% absolute danger discount) in the first consequence of mixed microvascular and macrovascular occasions with intensive glycemic control; nonetheless, no distinction was seen in the person outcomes of non-fatal stroke, non-fatal myocardial infarction, dying from cardiovascular causes, or new or worsening retinopathy.65 In ADVANCE, the 30% relative discount in the chance of macroalbuminuria (hazard ratio 0.70, 0.57 to 0.85) was the one endpoint driving optimistic outcomes for the composite microvascular illness endpoint (no impact on visible deterioration or new/worsening neuropathy) and the brand new or worsening nephropathy endpoint (no impact on doubling of the serum creatinine, renal substitute remedy, or renal dying).65 The ADVANCE trial confirmed a 65% discount in the chance of finish stage kidney illness, however this was based mostly on a small absolute quantity of occasions in each teams (20 v 7 occasions; 0.3% absolute danger discount; quantity wanted to deal with 333 for 11 years), making this discovering prone to statistical inference fragility.109 ACCORD researchers reported advantages in the microvascular illness composite endpoint of microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria (19% and 32% relative danger reductions, respectively), three line worsened visible acuity (9% relative danger discount), cataract extraction (11% relative danger discount), rating of greater than 2.0 on the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (8% relative danger discount), and misplaced ankle jerk and gentle contact (10% and 15% relative danger discount, respectively). However, no discount was seen in finish stage kidney illness or extreme imaginative and prescient loss.110 The VADT additionally reported a big discount in the chance of development to albuminuria (4.7% absolute danger discount; quantity wanted to deal with 21 for 5.6 years) however no impact on cataract surgical procedure, photocoagulation, vitrectomy, retinopathy, creatinine, finish stage kidney illness, mononeuropathy, or peripheral or autonomic neuropathy.67 Thus, a optimistic end result on a composite endpoint that stems from advantages in surrogate illness endpoints is deceptive if misperceived to recommend that each one elements of the composite, most notably laborious endpoints vital to patients, had shared in the profit.108

Post-RCT observational extensions of the big treat-to-target trials have additionally proven blended results on laborious microvascular and macrovascular outcomes. The UKPDS follow-up examine reported, after a imply follow-up of 16.8 years, 17%, 13%, and 15% relative reductions in the dangers of diabetes associated dying, all trigger mortality, and myocardial infarction, respectively.66 However, these information are to be interpreted with warning, as outcomes are topic to confounding by occasions that occurred throughout remark, notably as HbA1c ranges in the 2 teams converged all through the follow-up interval. These findings have been additionally not reproduced by the opposite extension research.71727385 Although the 10 yr VADT follow-up examine urged a small profit on the first composite consequence of myocardial infarction, stroke, new or worsening coronary heart failure, amputation for ischemic gangrene, or cardiovascular associated dying (hazard ratio 0.83, 0.70 to 0.99), no discount was seen in cardiovascular or all trigger mortality.72 Moreover, this profit was not obvious in the lately reported 15 yr follow-up evaluation (hazard ratio 0.91, 0.78 to 1.06).73

In distinction to inconsistent and inconclusive information on the advantages of intensive (in contrast with typical) glycemic control, each RCTs and observational research constantly present a big improve in extreme hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia is strongly related with elevated danger of dying, cardiovascular occasions, cognitive decline, falls and fall associated fractures, concern of hypoglycemia, and diminished high quality of life.111112113114115116117118119120 The incidence of emergency division visits and hospital admissions for extreme hypoglycemia is estimated at 0.2-2.0 per 100 person years,121 though these occasions are a small fraction of all extreme hypoglycemic occasions skilled by folks with diabetes.122 The true prevalence of clinically significant hypoglycemia stays unknown, as no standardized or complete mechanism is on the market to determine it.121 Intensive glucose decreasing remedy has different vital harms, which must be acknowledged and higher understood.


Multiple scientific observe tips make suggestions on glycemic control in grownup patients with type 2 diabetes (table 5).23567847 All (with the exception of the ACP place assertion), advocate focusing on HbA1c under 7.0% (53 mmol/mol) for many adults with diabetes. The AACE goes additional and advocates HbA1c lower than 6.5% (48 mmol/mol) because the optimum purpose for many patients. Although remedy targets stay largely knowledgeable by HbA1c, tips additionally acknowledge the implications of CVOTs for each alternative of drug remedy and non-glycemic concerns for pursuing remedy.

Table 5

Position of completely different skilled organizations concerning glycemic control

The ADA tips and ADA/EASD consensus for the administration of hyperglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes additionally specify that the primary targets of diabetes remedy are usually not merely control of glucose, blood strain, and ldl cholesterol, however quite the prevention or delay of problems and upkeep of patients’ health associated high quality of life. They additional advocate utilizing shared determination making (SDM) as a method of attaining affected person centered care and reinforce the centrality of the affected person in the choice making course of. However, the rules fall brief of specifying how and with what instruments SDM is achieved and how it’s to be reconciled with the pursuit of clearly outlined surrogate endpoints of HbA1c, blood strain, and lipid administration.

Moreover, tips more and more acknowledge the significance of the affected person’s general health, purposeful standing, and life expectancy, in addition to social determinants of health, entry to healthcare assets, and social assist for diabetes administration.236 However, these elements are launched primarily as potential justifications for tolerating suboptimal care with relaxed HbA1c targets and preferential use of cheap, however presumably clinically suboptimal, glucose decreasing medicine. Data recommend that relaxed glycemic targets and simplified remedy regimens will be the most secure and clinically optimum for patients with restricted life expectancy, a number of comorbidities, and excessive danger of hypoglycemia. Moreover, though consciousness of the affected person’s scientific and psychosocial context is a essential first step towards affected person centered diabetes care, clinicians and patients would really profit from particular steering on the best way to cut back, not merely acknowledge, these obstacles to care and health.

Person centered care

Most folks with diabetes have a number of acute and power health situations, private and skilled obligations, and monetary and social constraints.123124125 Holistic affected person centered, versus illness centered, care wants to think about every person’s distinctive state of affairs, each scientific and psychosocial, and rigorously weigh the stability of advantages and harms of glucose decreasing remedy in the broader context of their lives.125126 For instance, Mrs J, our 67 yr outdated affected person who has been dwelling with type 2 diabetes for 15 years, has at first look poorly managed illness. Her HbA1c is 8.7% (72 mmol/mol) and she smokes three cigarettes a day, has a body mass index of 34.2, blood strain of 145/90 mm Hg, and low density lipoprotein ldl cholesterol of 130 mg/dL (3.36 mmol/L). However, she works laborious to handle her diabetes and obtain these targets. She tries to stroll 5 instances per week, prepare dinner healthy food, and take her 15 every day medicine, together with metformin, SGLT-2 inhibitor, DPP-4 inhibitor, lengthy performing insulin, statin, aspirin, thiazide diuretic, angiotensin changing enzyme inhibitor, a number of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, inhaled lengthy performing β2 adrenergic agonist/corticosteroid, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, benzodiazepine, melatonin, and vitamin D3. What hides beneath the floor is that Mrs J additionally has osteoarthritis with power low again and knee ache, bothersome decrease extremity neuropathy, power obstructive pulmonary illness, gentle visible impairment, insomnia, and depression. She is a caregiver to her husband, who lately had an ischemic stroke, and continues to work full time to assist herself, her husband, their two kids, and their grandchildren. Despite her greatest efforts, none of her comorbidities is optimized, she has frequent non-severe hypoglycemia, and she feels overwhelmed by her sicknesses, her drug remedies, and life’s calls for.

One of the main challenges clinicians face at present is the best way to successfully and effectively implement one of the best accessible proof for the person affected person, given the time and useful resource constraints of scientific observe.127 This is especially pertinent to diabetes, for which the advantages of intensive glycemic control could also be outweighed by the potential harms, and which happens in the context of different scientific, psychosocial, and systemic obstacles.126 Although scientific observe tips are more and more acknowledging multimorbidity and the significance of tailoring remedy plans for the person affected person, they usually fall brief of offering particular and actionable steering on how that is to be achieved.128 A person centered remedy plan must be each proof based mostly and context particular, bearing in mind patients’ scientific and psychosocial complexities, in addition to their values, preferences, targets, and life expectations that stem from their distinctive household, social, and financial state of affairs.129130131

Models of care

We suggest three constructs that may facilitate and assist purpose and context concordant care: SDM, minimally disruptive medication (MDM), and the power care mannequin (CCM).

Shared determination making

SDM is a course of for clinicians, patients, and caregivers to companion in the event of probably the most acceptable and possible therapeutic plan at a given time based mostly on professional enter from each the clinician (grounded in one of the best accessible scientific proof) and the affected person/caregiver (offering experience in the affected person’s targets, preferences, and context of care).132 SDM is facilitated by determination aids for diabetes administration,133 conversational elicitation of the affected person’s targets/preferences,134 and/or built-in, holistic scientific determination assist instruments.135136137 Use of determination aids, in specific, permits therapeutic targets and remedy choices to be mentioned and thought-about in the context of the affected person’s preferences. For instance, the Diabetes Medication Choice Decision Aid (accessible at http://diabetesdecisionaid.mayoclinic.org) first elicits from patients the points of diabetes care which can be most vital to them (HbA1c discount, every day routine complexity, hypoglycemia, weight acquire, cardiovascular advantages, or value) and then guides patients and clinicians to select from among the many accessible drug remedies people who greatest serve their recognized wants (fig 2).138 This determination assist has been used in a spread of scientific contexts, and trials have proven that call aids can successfully and effectively facilitate SDM with out rising the burden on clinicians or programs.139 Decision assist instruments may also be designed to be holistic (that’s, not targeted on glycemic discount alone) and tailored to facilitate and inform proof based mostly SDM,135140 notably in major care the place most individuals with type 2 diabetes obtain their care.

Fig 2
Fig 2

Diabetes Medication Choice Decision Aid

Implementation of health digital information based mostly scientific determination assist has been proven to enhance diabetes administration in a spread of scientific settings.135

Minimally disruptive medication and the power care mannequin

Diabetes is a posh and multifaceted illness, and multidisciplinary group based mostly care based on the CCM may help patients to obtain the entire spectrum of care they want in a manner that’s accessible and significant to them.141142143 The purpose of CCM is to realize MDM, in which the affected person’s targets for all times and health are prioritized whereas minimizing the burden of remedy and illness and maximizing the affected person’s capability to enact the work of being a affected person.144145 Decision assist instruments can facilitate implementation of CCM. For instance, the Instrument for Patient Capacity Assessment (ICAN) software (accessible at https://minimallydisruptivemedicine.org/ican/) helps patients and clinicians to appraise how the healthcare program matches inside the constructs of the affected person’s life with the final word purpose of making a therapeutic plan that minimizes remedy burden and maximizes medical and psychosocial capability. ICAN is meant to shift the emphasis from the sickness to the broader state of affairs by eliciting patients’ private values and preferences, exploring how the healthcare system assists or hinders them, and cultivating alternatives to advance every distinctive affected person’s context and state of affairs (fig 3).146

Fig 3
Fig 3

ICAN (Instrument for Patient Capacity Assessment) dialogue assist

Importantly, these conversations have to happen in the context of scientific proof pertaining to diabetes administration and health outcomes, with clinicians facilitating therapeutic selections that greatest obtain the targets recognized by patients in methods which can be least disruptive, and therefore most achievable, to the affected person’s life. In the case of glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, this implies figuring out the therapeutic targets and outcomes which can be vital to patients; eliciting their capability for diabetes administration and self care; and weighing one of the best accessible proof about optimum glycemic targets, depth of remedy (intensive versus reasonable versus relaxed glycemic control), and particular remedy regiments in the context of this data (fig 4).

Fig 4
Fig 4

Algorithm for therapeutic determination making. Not all scientific encounters ought to embrace every little thing, and nor ought to they start at all times from step 1. Much worth must be positioned on the continuity of the enduring patient-clinician relationship over time

In the instance of Mrs J, a protracted and significant dialog revealed the presence of misery as a consequence of diabetes and main depressive dysfunction. She started to work with a psychiatrist and six months later efficiently discontinued seven medicine, together with insulin; her HbA1c improved to 62 mmol/mol (7.8%), she achieved higher blood strain and ldl cholesterol control, and hypoglycemic episodes resolved. Importantly, this method doesn’t diminish the significance of diabetes administration and control of hyperglycemia. Instead, the case of Mrs J illustrates that pursuit of reasonable glycemic control, which, in distinction to intensive glycemic control, has been proven to enhance health outcomes vital to patients with type 2 diabetes, and prioritization of non-glycemic points of her life that have been recognized as most vital to her, might in the end yield one of the best achievable general health outcomes.131

Knowledge gaps and future analysis

Although controlling hyperglycemia is an essential part of diabetes administration, rising proof has challenged the paradigm of pursuing close to regular glucose concentrations and counting on HbA1c as a central indicator of high quality of diabetes care.106 Other points of diabetes administration and control could also be extra vital, together with actual time glucose concentrations (that’s, avoidance of symptomatic hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia), particular glucose decreasing medicine getting used, burden of remedy, and high quality of life. Moreover, therapeutic targets must be individualized and contextualized to suit every affected person’s scientific and private state of affairs, balancing the anticipated advantages of attaining the precise stage of glycemic control with the burden and potential harms of pursuing it. Evidence from treat-to-target RCTs, CVOTs, and epidemiologic research of type 2 diabetes means that HbA1c ranges between 7% and 8% (53-63 mmol/mol) are acceptable for many non-pregnant adults with type 2 diabetes, though this goal must be weighed towards the precise glucose values it represents (that’s, absence of symptomatic hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia) and the remedy modality used to realize it. Younger, more healthy folks with diabetes might profit from extra intensive glycemic control, however extra trials utilizing contemporaneous remedy modalities are wanted to verify this. Conversely, patients with restricted life expectancy, frailty, or excessive scientific complexity might profit extra from a conservative remedy technique that prioritizes avoidance of symptomatic dysglycemia, though operationalizing that is difficult in the setting of multimorbidity and doubtlessly diversified manifestations of dysglycemia in this inhabitants.

Moreover, long run problems of type 2 diabetes are incurred not solely via hyperglycemia but additionally via hypertension, dyslipidemia, weight problems, smoking, and different elements of metabolic dysfunction. As new remedy modalities emerge for all these situations, extra research are wanted to find out optimum therapeutic regimens and targets for these danger elements as nicely.

Emerging therapies

Despite lack of conclusive proof on optimum glycemic targets, no treat-to-target RCTs for type 2 (or type 1) diabetes are ongoing or deliberate. Instead, we anticipate continued post-marketing examination of lately authorised therapeutic courses with semaglutide (SOUL) and ertugliflozin (VERTIS) trials but to be accomplished.147148 With a number of accessible courses of glucose decreasing medicine, interventional and quasi-experimental comparative effectiveness and security trials are wanted to find out therapeutic approaches which can be optimally aligned with patients’ danger profiles and targets of remedy. This consists of the continuing pragmatic unmasked GRADE trial, which might not be as clinically informative as is important given the absence of SGLT-2 inhibitors from the remedy arms and the first concentrate on HbA1c, not on microvascular or macrovascular outcomes vital to patients.149

Diabetes applied sciences are additionally used more and more by patients with type 2 diabetes, albeit at a lot decrease charges than these with type 1 diabetes. This consists of flash and actual time steady glucose displays, insulin pumps, good insulin pens, and cellular health platforms. Emerging, albeit inconsistent and weak, proof suggests decrease charges of hypoglycemia, improved glycemic control, and higher high quality of life with some of these gadgets.150 Finally, rising concentrate on inhabitants health administration and group based mostly care, in addition to speedy enhancements in health data expertise and information science, have enabled new approaches to diabetes administration and care. How these approaches enhance entry to care, high quality of delivered care, and in the end patients’ health outcomes stays to be decided.151152153


Evidence means that reasonable glycemic targets, with HbA1c ranges between 7% and 8% (53-63 mmol/mol), are ample for most individuals with type 2 diabetes if that is achieved with out symptomatic hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia and until decrease targets are simply achievable with out remedy burden or opposed results. Glucose decreasing regimens and targets must be individualized to replicate every affected person’s stability of anticipated profit versus potential hurt and to align with their targets, preferences, and state of affairs. Individualization of care might be achieved via the method of SDM, whereby clinicians and patients companion to determine an proof based mostly and minimally disruptive therapeutic method that’s proper for the affected person on the specific time. Ultimately, the body of proof stemming from treat-to-target RCTs, CVOTs, and epidemiologic research of diabetes administration requires a paradigm shift in diabetes administration to recalibrate the notion of presumed advantages from intensive glycemic control and refocus on outcomes that matter to patients, guaranteeing that the care we ship is proof based mostly, secure, efficient, equitable, and accessible to all.

Glossary of abbreviations

AACE—American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

ACC—American College of Cardiology

ACE—American College of Endocrinology

ACP—American College of Physicians

ADA—American Diabetes Association

AHA—American Heart Association

ASCVD—atherosclerotic heart problems

CCM—power care mannequin

CVOT—cardiovascular consequence trial

DCCT—Diabetes Control and Complications Trial

DPP-4—dipeptidyl peptidase-4

EASD—European Association for the Study of Diabetes

eGFR—estimated glomerular filtration fee

FDA—US Food and Drug Administration

GLP-1R—glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor

ICAN—Instrument for Patient Capacity Assessment

MACE—main cardiovascular occasion

MDM—minimally disruptive medication

NICE—National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

RCT—randomized managed trial

SDM—shared determination making

SGLT-2—sodium-glucose cotransporter-2

UKPDS—United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study

VA/DoD—US Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense

Research questions

  • What points of diabetes danger issue control (HbA1c, actual time glucose, blood strain, ldl cholesterol, smoking standing) and/or therapeutic administration (use of specific glucose decreasing, lipid decreasing, and/or blood strain decreasing medicine) translate to significant enhancements in microvascular and macrovascular outcomes?

  • How can person centered diabetes care be meaningfully carried out in the context of systemic constraints on clinicians and health programs?

  • How can patients and caregivers be empowered and supported as they handle diabetes, its problems, and associated comorbidities?

  • How can the social determinants of health that predispose to the incidence and development of diabetes, and hinder its optimum administration, be recognized and corrected?


We thank Victor M Montori and Edgar Gerardo Dorsey-Treviño for his or her views and insights to strengthen this manuscript.


  • Series clarification: State of the Art Reviews are commissioned on the idea of their relevance to lecturers and specialists in the US and internationally. For this cause they’re written predominantly by US authors

  • Contributors: RRG, JGGG, RGM, and JAZH reviewed and supplied priceless data, perception, and version to the manuscript. All authors have agreed on the ultimate model of the manuscript. RRG is the guarantor.

  • Funding: RGM is supported by the Mayo Clinic Robert D and Patricia E Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery and by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health below award quantity Okay23DK114497. The content material is solely the accountability of the authors and doesn’t essentially characterize the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing pursuits: We have learn and understood the BMJ coverage on declaration of pursuits and declare the next pursuits: none.

  • Provenance and peer overview: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient involvement: Mrs J is a affected person in the Diabetes Clinic of the Endocrinology Division on the University Hospital “Dr José E Gonzalez” of the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. On being invited to take part in this overview, Mrs J supplied knowledgeable consent to share her private expertise as a person dwelling with type 2 diabetes, which framed our dialogue of person centered care.

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