Weight and age found to ‘predict best diabetes treatment’

By Editor
1st May 2019
Research, South West

Using a person’s weight and age when they are diagnosed with diabetes can provide a simple way to select the drug that is likely to be best for them, researchers have said.

The study was carried out by the University of Exeter Medical School and show that using simple clinical features is a better way to guide treatment and identify people at increased risk of complications including kidney disease.

Lead author Dr John Dennis, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “It’s recognised that not everyone with type 2 diabetes should be treated the same, yet there is currently no way to tell which tablet is likely to be the best for a particular person.

‘Discrete subtypes’

“Our research shows that really simple clinical features such as age at diagnosis, sex, and kidney function provide a very effective and practical way to identify the best tablet for a particular person and to identify people at high risk of developing complications. Crucially, this approach does not mean reclassifying people into discrete subtypes of diabetes. Instead, we were able to use a person’s exact characteristics to provide more precise information to guide treatment.”

The research involved more than 8,500 participants in two independent clinical trials. The researchers found that their simple approach provided much better information to doctors than the proposed classification of adult diabetes into five subtypes suggested by Swedish researchers in the same journal in May 2018.

Professor Andrew Hattersley of the University of Exeter Medical School, who oversaw the research, said: “Managing people with type 2 diabetes is complex, and more evidence-based approaches are urgently required. Our research tested whether simple clinical characteristics are useful to help clinicians manage their patients. We found that using simple measurements available freely in clinic can lead to improved prediction of patient outcomes.”

Dr Emily Burns, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition and we need to move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. This research suggests that healthcare professionals can use simple measurements readily available to them now, including BMI and age of diagnosis, to determine the best treatments for each individual person. This could also potentially help them to work out who is most at risk of serious diabetes complications, so they can intervene early.

Personalising medicine for people with type 2 diabetes is so important, and this research – expanding our understanding of how best to choose the right treatment for each person – takes us one step closer.”

To read the paper, click here.

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