New Diabetes Guidelines Stress Lifestyle Changes: Endocrinology Association Task Force Emphasizes Individualized Treatment over a 'Cookbook Approach.'

Article excerpt

Diabetes management is becoming less "glucocentric" than it used to be, according to Dr. Helena W. Rodbard.

Dr. Rodbard is the chairperson of the task force that wrote the new clinical practice guidelines on the management of diabetes issued by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Instead of talking only about how to keep blood glucose at the ideal level, the new guidelines provide more emphasis on lifestyle--in terms of prevention of diabetes--as well as the importance of managing blood pressure and lipids, she said in an interview.

In addition, previous guidelines did not include much information on diabetes complications, particularly microvascular complications, and diabetes management in the hospital setting, both topics of separate sections of the new guidelines. There are also sections on nutrition, screening and diagnosis, glycemic management in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, diabetes and pregnancy, and patient safety in diabetes care.

The guidelines were published in a supplement to Endocrine Practice that was mailed to AACE members and journal subscribers in July (Endocr. Pract. 2007;13[Suppl 1]), and are a result of almost 3 years of work by the task force, which was made up of endocrinologists specializing in diabetes, Dr. Rodbard said. The final recommendations in the guidelines represent a consensus among the task force members, and were also approved by the AACE board of directors.

These guidelines are distinct from the "Road Maps for the Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes" recently released by AACE. The road maps are not guidelines, but instead provide specific treatment algorithms and focus more on glycemic control.

The guidelines include a section on the medical management of diabetes, which contains reviews of the different drugs available, their indications for use, their advantages and disadvantages, and their expected impact on reducing in Hb[A.sub.1c] levels. The guidelines do not specifically recommend any one drug or class of drugs as a first-line treatment, but instead, they focus on the importance of individualizing treatment, Dr. Rodbard explained. "We don't have a cookbook approach because every patient is different, and we list the different medications, the indications for each drug, and which subset of patients can benefit from one versus the other medication."

That approach contrasts with the American Diabetes Association, which last year endorsed a consensus algorithm that recommended metformin along with lifestyle interventions for newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. "That may be appropriate for many, perhaps most, patients with type 2 diabetes, but definitely not for everybody. …