Diet plus insulin compared to diet alone in the treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus: a systematic review.

Fetuses of mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus are at increased risk to develop perinatal complications mainly due to macrosomia. However, in view of the marked heterogeneity of this disease, it seems difficult to set guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. This complicates the choice of assigning patients either to diet or to insulin therapy. Also of concern is how much benefit could be expected from insulin therapy in preventing fetal complications in these patients. In a systematic review of the literature assessing the efficacy of insulin in preventing macrosomia in fetuses of mothers with gestational diabetes, we found six randomized controlled trials comparing diet alone to diet plus insulin. The studies included a total of 1281 patients (644 in the diet plus insulin group and 637 in the diet group), with marked differences among trials concerning diagnostic criteria, randomization process and treatment goals. Meta-analysis of the data resulted in a risk difference of -0.098 (95%CI: -0.168 to -0.028), and a number-necessary-to-treat of 11 (95%CI: 6 to 36), which means that it is necessary to treat 11 patients with insulin to prevent one case of macrosomia. This indicates a potential benefit of insulin, but not significantly enough to set treatment guidelines. Because of the heterogeneous evidence available in the literature about this matter, we conclude that larger trials addressing the efficacy of these two therapeutic modalities in preventing macrosomia are warranted.
AuthorsF M A Giuffrida, A A Castro, A N Atallah, S A Dib
JournalBrazilian journal of medical and biological research = Revista brasileira de pesquisas médicas e biológicas / Sociedade Brasileira de Biofísica ... [et al.] (Braz J Med Biol Res) Vol. 36 Issue 10 Pg. 1297-300 (Oct 2003) ISSN: 0100-879X [Print] Brazil
PMID14502360 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article, Meta-Analysis, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Diabetes, Gestational (complications, diet therapy, drug therapy)
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia (etiology)
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents (administration & dosage)
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin (administration & dosage)
  • Pregnancy
  • Treatment Outcome

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