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Endocr Pract. 2006 Mar-Apr;12(2):145-51.

Glycemic relapse in type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.



To characterize the occurrence of glycemic relapse after initial improvement in blood glucose levels and to describe predictors of relapse in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Occurrence of glycemic relapse was analyzed in 393 consecutive patients with type 2 diabetes after participation in a 3-month intensive outpatient intervention. All patients had hemoglobin A1c (A1C) values (3)7% before the intervention and had achieved adequate glycemic control (nadir A1C<7%) afterward. The median follow-up time was 26.5 months. Relapse was defined as a subsequent increase in A1C to (3)7%.


The probability of glycemic relapse was 45% at 1 year after the intervention and was 76% at 3 years. The median time to relapse was 15.2 months. Cox multivariate regression analysis indicated that treatment with insulin was associated with a greater risk of relapse-- hazard ratio=1.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 2.2), after controlling for the patient's age, sex, race, body mass index, duration of diabetes, weight change during the intervention, and nadir A1C value. Among those patients not treated with insulin at the end of the intervention, a shorter duration of diabetes and weight loss during the intervention period were significantly associated with decreased risk of relapse.


The majority of study patients with type 2 diabetes who attained satisfactory glycemic control after intensive outpatient intervention had a relapse after the end of the intervention period. Patients receiving insulin therapy were at particular risk of glycemic relapse. Therefore, such patients should receive high priority for continuation of intensive care or for other relapse prevention measures.

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