The prevalence of cystic fibrosis-related diabetes melltitus (CFRD) is increasing as patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) live longer. Because patients with CFRD are insulin-deficient, the standard medical treatment is exogenous insulin. Sulfonylureas enhance insulin secretion by acting on a specific islet beta cell receptor. No data are available about the outcome of sulfonylurea treatment vs. insulin treatment. In this retrospective study, data from 45 patients with CFRD were analyzed regarding their clinical outcome as it related to the treatment protocol. The duration of DM treatment was 7.6 +/- 4.6 years in the insulin-treated group and 3.5 +/- 2.0 years in the sulfonylurea group (n.s.). The age of CFRD diagnosis was significantly earlier in patients treated with insulin (n = 34) than in the patients treated with sulfonylurea (n = 11) (16.4 +/- 3.6 vs. 24.2 +/- 4.8 years, P < 0.001). No statistical differences were found between the two groups in the time of CF diagnosis, the most recent forced expired volume in 1 sec, forced vital capacity, Shwachman score, hemoglobin A(1C) levels, or weight for height index at the end of the study. Our data suggest that a subgroup of CFRD patients can be managed for a number of years with sulfonylurea, and that the clinical outcome was not different in this group compared with the insulin-treated patients.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.