United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study 17: a 9-year update of a randomized, controlled trial on the effect of improved metabolic control on complications in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Ann Intern Med. 1996 Jan 1;124(1 Pt 2):136-45. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-124-1_part_2-199601011-00011.


Purpose: To report the progress (after 9-year follow-up) of a study designed to determine whether improved glucose control in patients with newly diagnosed non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is effective in reducing the incidence of clinical complications.

Data source: A multicenter, randomized, controlled trial of different therapies for NIDDM. After initial diet therapy, 4209 asymptomatic patients who remained hyperglycemic (fasting plasma glucose levels, 6.0 to 15.0 mmol/L) were assigned to either a conventional therapy policy, primarily with diet alone, or to an intensive therapy policy, aiming for fasting plasma glucose levels of less than 6.0 mmol/L, with assignment to primary therapy with sulfonylurea or insulin (which increased insulin supply) or metformin (which enhanced insulin sensitivity).

Results: All three modes of pharmacologic therapy in the intensively treated group-sulfonylurea, insulin, and metformin-had similar efficacy in reducing the fasting plasma glucose and glycated hemoglobin levels. Over 9 years, patients assigned to intensive therapy with sulfonylurea or insulin had lower fasting plasma glucose levels (median, 7.3 and 9.0 mmol/L, respectively) than patients assigned to conventional therapy. Regardless of the assigned therapy, however, the fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels increased, and maintaining near-normal glycemia was, in general, not feasible. Even insulin therapy did not achieve the therapeutic goal of near-normal glycemia because of the difficulty in treating marked hyperglycemia and the risk for hypoglycemic episodes. Nine years after the diagnosis of diabetes, 29% of the patients had had a diabetes-related clinical end point, 20% had had a macrovascular complication, and 9% had had a microvascular complication.

Conclusions: A report will be published in 1998 after a median duration from randomization of 11 years (range, 6 to 20 years) with an 81% power at a 1% level of significance of detecting whether the obtained improvement in glucose control causes a 15% decrease or increase in the incidence of major complications and whether any specific therapy is advantageous or disadvantageous.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Weight
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • United Kingdom


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents