Background: Berberine is one of the most important examples of a Chinese traditional medicine that has hypoglycemic effects but there have been no randomized controlled trials of the drug in a larger sample. In addition, the use of probiotic biotherapy to maintain an appropriate intestinal flora may represent an effective early intervention for hyperglycemia. Unfortunately, there has been a shortage of relevant research on this possibility at the population level. This study was designed to determine the hypoglycemic effect and safety of both bifidobacteria and berberine administration to newly diagnosed patients with pre-diabetes or diabetes mellitus.
Methods/design: This is a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, and parallel-controlled study that includes a run-in period of 2 weeks and a treatment period of 16 weeks, which will be conducted between June 2015 and October 2018. The 300 randomized patients will be assigned to the following four groups for 16 weeks' treatment: Bifidobacterium, berberine, Bifidobacterium combined berberine, and placebo control groups. The primary outcome is the absolute value of fasting plasma glucose compared with baseline after 16 weeks of treatment.
Discussion: This is the first randomized controlled trial to determine the hypoglycemic effect and safety of both bifidobacteria and berberine administration to newly diagnosed patients with pre-diabetes or diabetes mellitus. It may provide support for the use of berberine and bifidobacteria in the treatment of diabetes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03330184 . Retrospectively registered on 18 October 2017.
Keywords: Berberine; Bifidobacteria; Chinese population; Diabetes; Hyperglycemia; Pre-diabetes; Randomized trials.