Background: There is compelling evidence showing that achieving good glycaemic control reduces the risk of microvascular complications in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Likewise, there is clear evidence to show that achieving good glycaemic control reduces the risk of macrovascular complications in type 1 diabetes. The UKPDS 10-year follow up suggests that good glycaemic control also reduces the risk of macrovascular complications in type 2 diabetes. Despite this, recent results from ACCORD, ADVANCE and VADT present conflicting results and data from the ACCORD trial appear to suggest that very low HbA(1c) targets (<6.0%) may, in fact, be dangerous in certain patient populations.
Aim: To review recent results from ACCORD, ADVANCE and VADT and provide clear guidance on the clinical significance of the new data and their implications for the practising physician treating patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: A Pubmed search was used to identify major randomised clinical trials examining the association between glycaemic control and diabetes-associated complications. The data was reviewed and discussed by the GTF through a consensus meeting. The recommendations for clinical practice in this statement are the conclusions of these analyses and discussions.
Results: Evidence from ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT and UKPDS suggests that certain patient populations, such as those with moderate diabetes duration and/or no pre-existing CVD, may benefit from intensive blood glucose control. These trials highlight the benefit of a multifactorial treatment approach to diabetes. However, ACCORD results indicate that aggressive HbA(1c) targets (<6.0%) may not be beneficial in patients with existing CVD and a longer duration of diabetes.
Conclusions: Glycaemic control remains a very important component of treatment for type 2 diabetes and contrasting results from the ACCORD, ADVANCE and VADT should not discourage physicians from controlling blood glucose levels.