The UNC School of Medicine researchers have shown checking blood sugar with a finger-stick may not help type 2 diabetes patients who do not use insulin.
Currently, 75 percent of non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes patients perform regular blood glucose testing at home, generally at the recommendation of a provider.
Daily testing imposes not only a financial cost but can also take a mental toll, increasing the rate of depression or anxiety in some patients.
“The MONITOR Trial” is the first large pragmatic study examining glucose monitoring in the United States.
This study compared three distinct groups of randomized patients: no blood sugar monitoring, once daily glucose monitoring, or enhanced once-daily glucose monitoring with an internet-delivered tailored message of encouragement or instruction.
In patients with non-insulin-treated T2DM, there were no clinically or statistically significant differences at 1 year in glycemic control or health-related quality of life between patients who performed self-monitoring of blood glucose compared with those who did not perform self-monitoring of blood glucose.
The study results suggest that self-monitoring of blood glucose in non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes has limited utility. These findings suggest that glucose monitoring in patients with non-insulin-treated T2DM should not be routine.
“Our study results have the potential to transform current clinical practice for patients and their providers by placing a spotlight on the perennial question, ‘to test or not to test,'” said Katrina Donahue, Professor at UNC School of Medicine.
“Of course, patients and providers have to consider each unique situation as they determine whether home blood glucose monitoring is appropriate,” Donahue said.
Patients living with diabetes should discuss the need for blood sugar monitoring with their health care providers as it could save the patient hundreds of finger sticks and hundreds of dollars every year, at least until insulin treatment is required.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.