Intensive glycaemic control for patients with type 2 diabetes: systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis of randomised clinical trials

Bianca Hemmingsen, Søren S Lund, Christian Gluud, Allan Vaag, Thomas Almdal, Christina Hemmingsen, Jørn Wetterslev
BMJ: British Medical Journal 2011 November 24, 343: d6898

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of targeting intensive glycaemic control versus conventional glycaemic control on all cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction, microvascular complications, and severe hypoglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes.

DESIGN: Systematic review with meta-analyses and trial sequential analyses of randomised trials.

DATA SOURCES: Cochrane Library, Medline, Embase, Science Citation Index Expanded, LILACS, and CINAHL to December 2010; hand search of reference lists and conference proceedings; contacts with authors, relevant pharmaceutical companies, and the US Food and Drug Administration.

STUDY SELECTION: Randomised clinical trials comparing targeted intensive glycaemic control with conventional glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Published and unpublished trials in all languages were included, irrespective of predefined outcomes.

DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion and extracted data related to study methods, interventions, outcomes, risk of bias, and adverse events. Risk ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated with fixed and random effects models.

RESULTS: Fourteen clinical trials that randomised 28,614 participants with type 2 diabetes (15,269 to intensive control and 13,345 to conventional control) were included. Intensive glycaemic control did not significantly affect the relative risks of all cause (1.02, 95% confidence interval 0.91 to 1.13; 28,359 participants, 12 trials) or cardiovascular mortality (1.11, 0.92 to 1.35; 28,359 participants, 12 trials). Trial sequential analyses rejected a relative risk reduction above 10% for all cause mortality and showed insufficient data on cardiovascular mortality. The risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction may be reduced (relative risk 0.85, 0.76 to 0.95; P=0.004; 28,111 participants, 8 trials), but this finding was not confirmed in trial sequential analysis. Intensive glycaemic control showed a reduction of the relative risks for the composite microvascular outcome (0.88, 0.79 to 0.97; P=0.01; 25,600 participants, 3 trials) and retinopathy (0.80, 0.67 to 0.94; P=0.009; 10,793 participants, 7 trials), but trial sequential analyses showed that sufficient evidence had not yet been reached. The estimate of an effect on the risk of nephropathy (relative risk 0.83, 0.64 to 1.06; 27,769 participants, 8 trials) was not statistically significant. The risk of severe hypoglycaemia was significantly increased when intensive glycaemic control was targeted (relative risk 2.39, 1.71 to 3.34; 27,844 participants, 9 trials); trial sequential analysis supported a 30% increased relative risk of severe hypoglycaemia.

CONCLUSION: Intensive glycaemic control does not seem to reduce all cause mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. Data available from randomised clinical trials remain insufficient to prove or refute a relative risk reduction for cardiovascular mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction, composite microvascular complications, or retinopathy at a magnitude of 10%. Intensive glycaemic control increases the relative risk of severe hypoglycaemia by 30%.

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