In short-term randomized trials ( duration, 1 to 2 years ), bariatric surgery has been associated with improvement in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Researchers have assessed outcomes 3 years after the randomization of 150 obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes to receive either intensive medical therapy alone or intensive medical therapy plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.
The primary end point was a glycated hemoglobin level of 6.0% or less.
The mean age of the patients at baseline was 48 years, 68% were women, the mean baseline glycated hemoglobin level was 9.3%, and the mean baseline body-mass index ( the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters; BMI ) was 36.0.
A total of 91% of the patients completed 36 months of follow-up.
At 3 years, the criterion for the primary end point was met by 5% of the patients in the medical-therapy group, as compared with 38% of those in the gastric-bypass group ( P less than 0.001 ) and 24% of those in the sleeve-gastrectomy group ( P=0.01 ).
The use of glucose-lowering medications, including Insulin, was lower in the surgical groups than in the medical-therapy group.
Patients in the surgical groups had greater mean percentage reductions in weight from baseline, with reductions of 24.5% in the gastric-bypass group and 21.1% in the sleeve-gastrectomy group, as compared with a reduction of 4.2% in the medical-therapy group ( P less than 0.001 for both comparisons ).
Quality-of-life measures were significantly better in the two surgical groups than in the medical-therapy group.
There were no major late surgical complications.
In conclusion, among obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, 3 years of intensive medical therapy plus bariatric surgery resulted in glycemic control in significantly more patients than did medical therapy alone.
Analyses of secondary end points, including body weight, use of glucose-lowering medications, and quality of life, also showed favorable results at 3 years in the surgical groups, as compared with the group receiving medical therapy alone. ( Xagena )
Schauer PR et al, N Engl J Med 2014; 370:2002-2013