Intensive blood glucose lowering treatment proved fatal for diabetes patients

Intensive blood glucose lowering treatment proved fatal for diabetes patients in a US study, and for Safety, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has changed intensive blood sugar treatment strategy in clinical trial of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In this trial of adults with type 2 diabetes at especially high risk for heart attack and stroke, the medical strategy to intensively lower blood glucose (sugar) below current recommendations increased the risk of death compared with a less-intensive standard treatment strategy. Study participants receiving intensive blood glucose lowering treatment will now receive the less-intensive standard treatment.

The ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) study enrolled 10,251 participants. Of these, 257 in the intensive treatment group have died, compared with 203 within the standard treatment group. This is a difference of 54 deaths, or 3 per 1,000 participants each year, over an average of almost four years of treatment. The death rates in both groups were lower than seen in similar populations in other studies.

“A thorough review of the data shows that the medical treatment strategy of intensively reducing blood sugar below current clinical guidelines causes harm in these especially high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes,” said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director, NHLBI. “Though we have stopped this part of the trial, we will continue to care for these participants, who now will receive the less-intensive standard treatment. In addition, we will continue to monitor the health of all participants, seek the underlying causes for this finding, and carry on with other important research within ACCORD.”

In stopping this part of the trial, Nabel accepted the recommendation of the 10-member Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) ? an independent advisory group of experts in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epidemiology, patient care, biostatistics, medical ethics, and clinical trial design that has been monitoring ACCORD since it began.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, USA



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