From the Journals

AACE/ACE algorithm provides practical clinical guidance on managing diabetes



Leading endocrinology societies have copublished an algorithm offering updated, specific clinical guidance on lifestyle therapy, management of hypertension and dyslipidemia, and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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This update from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American College of Endocrinology, published in Endocrine Practice, also highlights obesity and prediabetes as underlying risk factors for development of diabetes.

The algorithm, based on new and “comprehensive clinical data” on type 2 diabetes management, is designed as a supplement 2015 AACE/ACE clinical practice guidelines, according to Alan J. Garber, MD, PhD, chair of the Diabetes Management Algorithm Task Force.

“It’s intended to provide clinicians with a practical guide that prompts them to look for factors or influences in the patient’s lifestyle or health that may be a factor in identifying the best treatment approach or medication,” he said in a statement.

Lifestyle medication is critical for all patients with diabetes, according to Dr. Garber and the algorithm coauthors, who recommended a “primarily plant-based meal plan” that limits intake of saturated fatty acids and avoids trans fats. They said overweight patients should restrict caloric intake with a goal of reducing body weight by up to 10%.

Physical activity should include at least 150 minutes per week of activities such as brisk walking or weight training, they said, adding that patients should be advised to sleep 7 hours per night, on average.

Weight loss medications might be needed along with lifestyle modification for patients with body mass index (BMI) over 27 kg/m2 with complications, and for all patients with BMI over 30 regardless of whether they have complications, according to the AACE/ACE committee members who drafted the report.

Bariatric surgery might be considered in patients with BMI over 35 and comorbidities, particularly if patients fail to achieve weight loss goals using other means, they added.

The primary goal of prediabetes management is weight loss, wrote the authors. While there are no Food and Drug Administration–approved agents for prediabetes management, they said, antihyperglycemic agents such as metformin and acarbose have been shown to reduce risk of diabetes by 25%-30% in patients with prediabetes.

While pressure control needs to be individualized, but a goal of less than 130/80 mm Hg is warranted for most patients with diabetes, according to the authors, who note that most patients will require medication to reach their goal.

“Because angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers can slow progression of nephropathy and retinopathy, they are preferred for patients with type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Garber and his coauthors in the executive summary accompanying the algorithm.

Early and intensive management of dyslipidemia is important to reduce the significant risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, according to the authors, who say diabetes patients should be classified as high risk, very high risk, or extreme risk. They recommended LDL cholesterol targets of less than 100 mg/dL for high-risk patients, less than 70 mg/dL for very-high-risk patients, and less than 55 mg/dL for the extreme-risk group.

Statins should be considered first-line treatment for lowering cholesterol, unless contraindicated, with other lipid-modifying agents added as needed to reach lipid targets.

Inhibitors of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9) address a “large unmet need” for more aggressive lipid lowering in patients with clinical atherosclerotic disease and diabetes, the authors noted.

Added to maximal statin therapy, PCSK9 inhibitors reduce LDL cholesterol by about 50% while also raising HDL cholesterol and having positive effects on other lipids, according to the authors.

Pharmacotherapy for type 2 diabetes requires a “nuanced approach” that takes into account factors such as age, comorbidities, and risk of hypoglycemia, the authors wrote, noting that the AACE supports a hemoglobin A1c target of 6.5% or less for most patients.

The algorithm for glycemic control lists glucose-lowering agents in order of recommended usage. For example, in patients with an entry HbA1c less than 7.5%, the strongest recommendations for were monotherapy with metformin, followed by GLP1 receptor agonists and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.

If insulin becomes necessary, the recommended approach is to add a single daily dose of basal insulin, and if a basal insulin regimen fails to control glucose, it may help to add a GLP1 receptor agonist or dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitor, according to the algorithm.

Avoiding hypoglycemia is important, and one possible “safety measure” to prevent that is using a continuous glucose monitoring device that provides real-time glucose data. “Significant advances have been made in accuracy and availability of CGM devices,” the authors wrote.

Current expert consensus is that clinical CGM devices should be considered if patients have not achieved their glycemic target after 3 months or if they need a treatment that puts them at risk for hypoglycemia, according to Dr. Garber and his colleagues.

Dr. Garber reported that he had no financial relationships relevant to the consensus statement and algorithm. Coauthors of the report provided disclosures related to Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Abbott, Sanofi-Aventis, and other pharmaceutical companies.

SOURCE: Garber AJ et al. Endocr Pract. 2019 Jan;25(1):91-120.

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