Risk of adverse effects of intensified treatment in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis

Egger, M; Davey Smith, G; Stettler, C; Diem, P (1997). Risk of adverse effects of intensified treatment in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis. Diabetic medicine, 14(11), pp. 919-28. Chichester: Wiley 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9136(199711)14:11<919::AID-DIA456>3.0.CO;2-A

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While the benefits of intensified insulin treatment in insulin-dependent (Type 1) diabetes mellitus (IDDM) are well recognized, the risks have not been comprehensively characterized. We examined the risk of severe hypoglycaemia, ketoacidosis, and death in a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The MEDLINE database, reference lists, and specialist journals were searched electronically or by hand to identify relevant studies with at least 6 months of follow-up and the monitoring of glycaemia by glycosylated haemoglobin measurements. Logistic regression was used for calculation of combined odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The influence of covariates was examined by including covariate-by-treatment interaction terms. Methodological study quality was assessed and sensitivity analyses were performed. Fourteen trials were identified. These contributed 16 comparisons with 1028 patients allocated to intensified and 1039 allocated to conventional treatment. A total of 846 patients suffered at least one episode of severe hypoglycaemia, 175 patients experienced ketoacidosis and 26 patients died. The combined odds ratio (95% CI) for hypoglycaemia was 2.99 (2.45-3.64), for ketoacidosis 1.74 (1.27-2.38) and for death from all causes 1.40 (0.65-3.01). The risk of severe hypoglycaemia was determined by the degree of normalization of glycaemia achieved (p=0.005 for interaction term), with the results from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) in line with the other trials. Ketoacidosis risk depended on the type of intensified treatment used. Odds ratios (95% CI) were 7.20 (2.95-17.58) for exclusive use of pumps, 1.13 (0.15-8.35) for multiple daily injections and 1.28 (0.90-1.83) for trials offering a choice between the two (p = 0.004 for interaction). Mortality was significantly (p = 0.007) increased for causes potentially associated with acute complications (7 vs 0 deaths, 5 deaths attributed to ketoacidosis, and 2 sudden deaths), and non-significantly (p = 0.16) decreased for macrovascular causes (3 vs 8 deaths). We conclude that there is a substantial risk of severe adverse effects associated with intensified insulin treatment. Mortality from acute metabolic causes is increased; however, this is largely counterbalanced by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality. The excess of severe hypoglycemia in the DCCT is not exceptional. Multiple daily injection schemes may be safer than treatment with insulin pumps.

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Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition

UniBE Contributor:

Diem, Peter










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:17

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https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/23870 (FactScience: 44880)

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