In the first large pragmatic trial of its kind in the United States, results from a UNC School of Medicine study show that checking finger-stick blood sugars may not help diabetes patients who do not use insulin.

In the first large pragmatic trial of its kind in the United States, results from a UNC School of Medicine study show that checking finger-stick blood sugars may not help diabetes patients who do not use insulin.

Chapel Hill, NC – In a landmark study, UNC School of Medicine researchers have shown that blood glucose testing does not offer a significant advantage in blood sugar control or quality of life for type 2 diabetes patients who are not treated with insulin. The paper, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, details findings from a randomized trial called “The MONITOR Trial.” This study is the first large pragmatic study examining glucose monitoring in the United States. 

Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic afflicting one in 11 people in the United States. For those treated with insulin, checking blood sugar with a finger stick at home is an accepted practice for monitoring the effects of insulin therapy. However, the majority of type 2 diabetes patients are not treated with insulin. These patients, too, are often recommended glucose monitoring, despite an ongoing debate about its effectiveness in controlling diabetes or improving how patients feel.

“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, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and Professor and Director of Research at UNC Family Medicine.

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Originally written by Heather Wilson. Published on June 10, 2017.

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