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BMJ Clin Evid. 2012 Oct 11;2012. pii: 0609.

Diabetes: glycaemic control in type 2 (drug treatments).

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University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Diabetes mellitus is a progressive disorder of glucose metabolism. It is estimated that about 285 million people between the ages of 20 and 79 years had diabetes worldwide in 2010, or 5% of the adult population. Type 2 diabetes may occur with obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidaemia (the metabolic syndrome), which are powerful predictors of cardiovascular disease. Without adequate blood-glucose-lowering treatment, blood glucose levels may rise progressively over time in people with type 2 diabetes. Microvascular and macrovascular complications may develop.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of blood-glucose-lowering medications in adults with type 2 diabetes? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to February 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found 194 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs), combination treatment (single, double, and triple), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues, insulins (including conventional [human] and analogue, different regimens, different length of action), meglitinides, metformin, sulphonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.

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