Bariatric Surgery + Medical Therapy: Effective Tx for T2DM?

Author and Disclosure Information

Short-term studies have indicated “Yes.” But does a long-term randomized controlled trial give this combination a thumbs up?



Practice Changer

A 46-year-old woman presents with a BMI of 28, a 4-year history of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and an A1C of 9.8%. The patient is currently being treated with intensive medical therapy (IMT), including metformin 2000 mg/d, sitagliptin 100 mg/d, and insulin glargine 12 U/d, with minimal change in A1C. Should you recommend bariatric surgery?

One in 11 Americans has diabetes, and at least 95% of those have T2DM.2,3 The treatment of T2DM is generally multimodal to target the various mechanisms that cause hyperglycemia. Strategies may include making lifestyle modifications, decreasing insulin resistance, increasing insulin secretion, replacing insulin, and targeting incretin-hormonal pathways.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends diet, exercise, and behavioral modifications as firstline therapy for diabetes management, but these methods are often inadequate.2 In addition to various pharmacotherapeutic strategies for some populations with T2DM, the ADA recommends bariatric surgery for those with a BMI ≥ 35 and uncontrolled hyper­glycemia.2,4

However, this recommendation is based only on short-term studies. For example, in a single-center, nonblinded RCT of 60 patients with a BMI ≥ 35, the average baseline A1C levels of 8.65 ± 1.45% were reduced to 7.7 ± 0.6% in the IMT group and to 6.4 ± 1.4% in the gastric-bypass group at 2 years.5 In another study, a randomized double-blind trial involving 60 moderately obese patients (BMI, 25-35), gastric bypass yielded better outcomes than sleeve gastrectomy: 93% of patients in the former group and 47% of those in the latter group achieved remission of T2DM over a 12-month period.6

The current study by Schauer et al examined the long-term outcomes of IMT alone vs bariatric surgery with IMT for the treatment of T2DM in patients who are overweight or obese.1


5-year follow-up: surgery + IMT works

This study was a 5-year follow-up of a nonblinded, single-center RCT comparing IMT alone to IMT with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy in 150 patients with T2DM.1 Patients were included if they were ages 20 to 60, had a BMI of 27 to 43, and had an A1C > 7%. Patients with a history of bariatric surgery, complex abdominal surgery, or uncontrolled medical or psychiatric disorders were excluded.

Patients were randomly placed in a 1:1:1 fashion into 3 groups: IMT (as defined by the ADA) only, IMT and gastric bypass, or IMT and sleeve gastrectomy. The primary outcome was the number of patients with an A1C ≤ 6%. Secondary outcomes included weight loss, glucose control, lipid levels, blood pressure, medication use, renal function, adverse effects, ophthalmologic outcomes, and quality of life.

Continue to: Of the 150 patients...

Next Article: