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Diabet Med. 2011 Aug;28(8):948-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03303.x.

Oral anti-diabetic drugs for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

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Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy, Pomona, CA, USA.



To determine the comparative efficacy of oral anti-diabetic drugs in preventing the development of Type 2 diabetes.


A systematic literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane CENTRAL was conducted for randomized controlled trials evaluating oral anti-diabetic drugs in patients at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Mixed-treatment comparison meta-analysis methods were used to evaluate the relative risks and risk differences of developing Type 2 diabetes, along with associated 95% credible intervals.


Overall, 20 trials (n = 23 230 participants) were included. Upon mixed-treatment comparison meta-analysis, thiazolidinediones, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and biguanides significantly reduced the relative risk of developing diabetes by 64, 40 and 27%, respectively, compared with control. Sulphonylureas and glinides showed no significant effect. Moreover, thiazolidinediones significantly reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 50% compared with biguanides and trended towards a 40% risk reduction vs. alpha-glucosidase inhibitors [relative risk 0.60 (95% credible intervals 0.34-1.02)]. None of the results were appreciably altered upon subgroup or sensitivity analyses. When evaluating risk differences compared with control, thiazolidinediones (-9%, number needed to treat = 11), alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (-7%, number needed to treat = 14) and biguanides (-7%, number needed to treat = 14) continued to show significant benefit.


Of the oral anti-diabetic drugs evaluated to prevent Type 2 diabetes, thiazolidinediones were associated with the greatest risk reduction compared with control and associated with greater risk reduction than biguanides. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and biguanides performed similarly, and better than control, while sulphonylureas and glinides provided no significant benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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