How to apply the experience from the diabetes control and complications trial to children and adolescents?

Ann Med. 1997 Oct;29(5):425-38. doi: 10.3109/07853899708999373.


The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) taught us to set target blood glucose (BG) and glycohaemoglobin (GHb) goals, to ensure safety regarding hypoglycaemia, to be flexible with insulin and meal planning and to offer frequent contact with diabetes educators, dieticians, psychologists and social workers as well as with diabetologists skilled in intensified management. Insulin dosage should be individualized based upon frequent BG monitoring results. Co-ordinated multidisciplinary health care teams provide optimum problem-solving rather than disaster control working with children, adolescents and their families. The patient and the family should form the central core of the diabetes team with outpatient follow-up every month and frequent telephone contact between visits. GHb should be obtained at least every 1-2 months to provide feedback as based on the DCCT intensified treatment cohort. Insulin lispro helps minimize hypoglycaemia and makes insulin administration more convenient and timely. Barriers to improvement should be identified: learning problems, concomitant significant illnesses (epilepsy, coeliac and thyroid disease, asthma) and family problems. Ensure age-appropriate transfer of self-care but continue adult supervision. Educate, motivate and re-educate. Meal planning includes not only carbohydrate counting but also maintaining normal lipids and energy needs for growth and development as well as strategies for activity compensation and hypoglycaemia prevention. Consideration of protein restriction may be required in adolescents with microalbuminuria. Individualized multidose insulin algorithms allow reactive (corrective) decisions based upon capillary BG results plus proactive (anticipatory) decisions to compensate for expected BG changes from changes in activity, food and/or illness using a multidose insulin schedule. The number of insulin injections does not define an intensified insulin treatment programme but rather the ability to target and achieve near-normal BG values as often as possible - without severe episodes of hypoglycaemia. Self BG monitoring is a key to success. Long-term monitoring should include not only frequent GHb but also at least annual fasting lipids, thyroid functions and microalbuminuria as well as dilated retinal exams, blood pressure, growth charting and Tanner staging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Patient Care Team
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin