Treatment of Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes

Ann Pharmacother. 2016 Sep;50(9):768-77. doi: 10.1177/1060028016655179. Epub 2016 Jun 15.


Objective: To review the current literature for the efficacy and safety of available treatments for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in the pediatric population.

Data sources: A search from January 1990 to April 2016 was conducted using PubMed and using the search terms diabetes mellitus, type 2; adolescent; child; and pediatric Bibliographies of chosen articles were reviewed.

Study selection and data extraction: Relevant articles and preliminary data from clinical trials on metformin, insulin, sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones (TZDs), glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, and α-glucosidase inhibitors for the treatment of pediatric T2DM were reviewed. Studies included randomized controlled, observational, and open-label designs.

Data synthesis: Metformin, studied in 4 of the reviewed trials, and premixed insulin appear to be safe and effective in pediatric patients with T2DM. TZDs were well tolerated and yielded favorable results, but may have limited applicability. A sulfonylurea had favorable hemoglobin A1C reduction, but was associated with significant weight gain. Studies of incretin-based agents also showed favorable results in the pediatric population but have limited safety and efficacy data. Several trials for other agents are reported on with unpublished results, but no statistical analyses are reported.

Conclusion: Metformin and insulin remain the mainstay of treatment for T2DM in pediatric patients. More robust studies are needed to assist in the provision of evidence-based guidance for the treatment of T2DM in youth.

Keywords: diabetes; evidence-based medicine; pediatrics; sulfonylurea; thiazolidinedione; type 2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / metabolism
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Incretins / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / adverse effects
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Thiazolidinediones / administration & dosage
  • Thiazolidinediones / adverse effects
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Incretins
  • Insulin
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Metformin