Kaiser Permanente is touting a study demonstrating that using continuous glucose monitors offers better blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study found that patients with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) typically had better blood sugar control and fewer visits to the emergency room for hypoglycemia. The study was published yesterday in JAMA and was supported by an independent investigator award from Dexcom and funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The retrospective, comparative effectiveness study observed 5,673 patients with type 1 diabetes and 36,080 patients with type 2 diabetes treated with insulin who were self-monitoring glucose. On the recommendation of their doctors, 3,462 of the type 1 patients and 344 of the type 2 patients began using CGMs between January 2015 and December 2019, according to a news release.
Researchers evaluated before-and-after results for patients who initiated CGM use against those who did not by using statistical techniques mimicking clinical trial randomization. The analysis demonstrated that the CGMs were associated with a decline in levels of HbA1c and a reduction in emergency department visits and hospitalizations for hypoglycemia.
“The improvement in blood sugar control was comparable to what a patient might experience after starting a new diabetes medication,” the study’s lead author, Kaiser Permanente senior research scientist Andrew J. Karter, said in the release.
Researchers say the next step is to determine if there are other type 2 diabetes patients whose blood sugar would be better and more safely controlled with CGMs.
“This study found that patients who used continuous glucose monitors had very good results compared to those who continued only with intermittent testing using finger sticks,” senior author and endocrinologist Dr. Richard Dlott said. “We now need to determine whether there are other patients who might also benefit, even if they don’t meet all of the Medicare criteria. The newest technology isn’t always better for everybody. We need to identify the people who are most likely to benefit.”