Conference Coverage

Emphasis on weight loss in new type 2 diabetes guidance


AT EASD 2022

STOCKHOLM – Weight loss should be a co–primary management goal for type 2 diabetes in adults, according to a new comprehensive joint consensus report from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association.

And while metformin is still recommended as first-line therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes with no other comorbidities, the statement expands the indications for use of other agents or combinations of agents as initial therapy for subgroups of patients, as part of individualized and patient-centered decision-making.

Last updated in 2019, the new “Management of Hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes” statement also places increased emphasis on social determinants of health, incorporates recent clinical trial data for cardiovascular and kidney outcomes for sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagonlike peptide–1 (GLP-1) agonists to broaden recommendations for cardiorenal protection, and discusses health behaviors such as sleep and sitting. It also targets a wider audience than in the past by addressing health system organization to optimize delivery of diabetes care.

The new statement was presented during a 90-minute session at the annual meeting of the EASD, with 12 of its 14 European and American authors as presenters. The document was simultaneously published in Diabetologia and Diabetes Care.

During the discussion, panel member Jennifer Brigitte Green, MD, commented: “Many of these recommendations are not new. They’re modest revisions of recommendations that have been in place for years, but we know that actual implementation rates of use of these drugs in patients with established comorbidities are very low.”

“I think it’s time for communities, health care systems, etc, to actually introduce these as expectations of care... to assess quality because unless it’s considered formally to be a requirement of care I just don’t think we’re going to move that needle very much,” added Dr. Green, who is professor of medicine at Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Vanita R. Aroda, MD, of the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, commented: “In the past, sometimes these recommendations created fodder for debate, but I don’t think this one will. It’s just really solidly evidence based, with the rationales presented throughout, including the figures. I think just having very clear evidence-based directions should support their dissemination and use.”

Weight management plays a prominent role in treatment

In an interview, writing panel cochair John B. Buse, MD, PhD, said: “We are saying that the four major components of type 2 diabetes care are glycemic management, cardiovascular risk management, weight management, and prevention of end-organ damage, particularly with regard to cardiorenal risk.”

“The weight management piece is much more explicit now,” said Dr. Buse, director of the Diabetes Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He noted that recent evidence from the intensive lifestyle trial DiRECT, conducted in the United Kingdom, the bariatric surgery literature, and the emergence of potent weight-loss drugs have meant that “achieving 10%-15% body weight loss is now possible.

“So, aiming for remission is something that might be attractive to patients and providers. This could be based on weight management, with the [chosen] method based on shared decision-making.”

According to the new report: “Weight loss of 5%-10% confers metabolic improvement; weight loss of 10%-15% or more can have a disease-modifying effect and lead to remission of diabetes, defined as normal blood glucose levels for 3 months or more in the absence of pharmacological therapy in a 2021 consensus report.

“Weight loss may exert benefits that extend beyond glycemic management to improve risk factors for cardiometabolic disease and quality of life,” it adds.


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