Aims: To evaluate if clinical practice guideline recommendations regarding self-monitoring of blood glucose in patients with diabetes not using insulin follow the principles of evidence-based medicine.
Methods: After a search from 1999 to 2011, 18 clinical practice guidelines were included. Recommendations regarding self-monitoring of blood glucose were graded on a scale from one (strongly against self-monitoring) to four (strongly in favour of self-monitoring) and compared with the similarly graded conclusions of systematic reviews that were cited by the clinical practice guidelines. We also investigated how clinical practice guideline characteristics, for example funding sources, and quality of references cited could be related to the guideline recommendations.
Results: The clinical practice guidelines cited in total 15 systematic reviews, 14 randomized controlled trials, 33 non-randomized controlled trials papers and 18 clinical practice guidelines or position statements. The clinical practice guideline recommendations had an average grade of 3.4 (range 2.0-4.0). Higher grades were seen for clinical practice guidelines that acknowledged industry funding (mean value 4.0) or were issued by organizations depending on private funding (mean value 3.6 vs. 3.0 for governmental funding). The conclusions of the 15 systematic reviews had a mean grade of 2.2 (range 1.0-3.8). Systematic reviews with low grades were less cited. In total, 21 randomized controlled trials were included in the systematic reviews. Approximately half of these evaluated an educational intervention where the effect of self-monitoring of blood glucose could not be clearly isolated.
Conclusions: Clinical practice guidelines were more in favour of self-monitoring use than the systematic reviews that were cited. The citation practice was non-systematic and industry funding seemingly led to a more positive attitude towards use of self-monitoring of blood glucose.
© 2012 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2012 Diabetes UK.