Background: Recent studies have identified postprandial glycemic excursions as risk factors for diabetes complications. This study aimed to compare the effects of nateglinide and acarbose treatments on postprandial glycemic excursions in Chinese subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Subjects and methods: This was a multicenter, open-label, randomized, active-controlled, parallel-group study. One hundred three antihyperglycemic agent-naive subjects with type 2 diabetes (hemoglobin A1c range, 6.5-9.0%) were prospectively recruited from four hospitals in China. The intervention was nateglinide (120 mg three times a day) or acarbose (50 mg three times a day) therapy for 2 weeks. A continuous glucose monitoring system was used to calculate the incremental area under the curve of postprandial blood glucose (AUCpp), the incremental glucose peak (IGP), mean amplitude of glycemic excursions, SD of blood glucose, the mean of daily differences, and 24-h mean blood glucose (MBG). Subjects' serum glycated albumin and the plasma insulin levels were also analyzed.
Results: Both agents caused significant reductions on AUCpp and IGP. Similarly, both treatment groups showed significant improvements in the intra- and interday glycemic excursions, as well as the 24-h MBG and serum glycated albumin compared with baseline (P<0.001). However, neither of the agents produced a significantly better effect (P>0.05). Moreover, the nateglinide-treated group had significantly increased insulin levels at 30 min and at 120 min after a standard meal compared with baseline, whereas the acarbose-treated group decreased. No serious adverse events occurred in either group. The rates of hypoglycemic episodes were comparable in the two groups, and no severe hypoglycemic episode occurred in either group.
Conclusions: Nateglinide and acarbose were comparably effective in reducing postprandial glycemic excursions in antihyperglycemic agent-naive Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes, possibly through different pathophysiological mechanisms.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01030952.