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ADA: Blood Glucose Monitoring for Non-Insulin Users Shows No Benefits

Regular self-monitoring of blood glucose, at least by people with type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin injections, did not result in a clinically significant reduction in blood glucose control in a year-long study.

“No self-monitoring was compared to two different intensities of self-monitoring, and no clinically significant different reductions were seen in results on A1C tests,” reported Andrew J. Farmer, FRCGP, DM, University Lecturer, University of Oxford, and Principal Investigator of the Diabetes Glycemic Education and Monitoring (DiGEM) study in a recent interview.  A1C tests measure blood glucose control over a two- to-three-month period.  “Further, no additional effect of a more intensive self-monitoring regimen was observed.”

Dr. Farmer emphasized that these results do not apply to people with type 1 or 2 diabetes who take insulin injections because there is already substantial evidence of the benefits of self-monitoring to help prevent hypoglycemia and to adjust medications, diet, and physical activity to optimal levels in those individuals.

Self-monitoring of blood-glucose (SMBG) for non-insulin treated diabetes is costly but has been believed to lead to improved blood glucose control.  However, existing evidence has been inconclusive and previous trials have been multi-factorial, with people receiving self-monitoring and other interventions at the same time.  Hence, it is not clear whether it is the SMBG or another factor that may be responsible for improvements in glycemic control.

Publishers Comment:  When will they stop telling us that monitoring blood sugars for type 2 diabetics doesn’t help in improving blood sugars?  If patients were educated as to the importance of monitoring postprandial blood glucose, we would see the benefits.  I tell my patients that monitoring your blood sugars after you eat, will tell you if you ate correctly or will tell you that you ate too much or ate the wrong foods. 

Data presented at the 67th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association
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