Intended for healthcare professionals

Primary Care

Randomised controlled trial of structured personal care of type 2 diabetes mellitus

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:970
  1. Niels de Fine Olivarius, associate professora (no{at},
  2. Henning Beck-Nielsen, professor of endocrinologyb,
  3. Anne Helms Andreasen, statisticianc,
  4. Mogens Hørder, professor of clinical biochemistryd,
  5. Poul A Pedersen, research directora
  1. a Central Research Unit and Department of General Practice, University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute, DK-2200, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. b Medical Department M, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
  3. c Department of Biostatistics, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Panum Institute
  4. d Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark
  1. Correspondence to: N deF Olivarius
  • Accepted 19 September 2001


Objective: To assess the effect of a multifaceted intervention directed at general practitioners on six year mortality, morbidity, and risk factors of patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Design: Pragmatic, open, controlled trial with randomisation of practices to structured personal care or routine care; analysis after 6 years.

Setting: 311 Danish practices with 474 general practitioners (243 in intervention group and 231 in comparison group).

Participants: 874 (90.1%) of 970 patients aged ≥40 years who had diabetes diagnosed in 1989-91 and survived until six year follow up.

Intervention: Regular follow up and individualised goal setting supported by prompting of doctors, clinical guidelines, feedback, and continuing medical education.

Main outcome measures: Predefined clinical non-fatal outcomes, overall mortality, risk factors, and weight.

Results: Predefined non-fatal outcomes and mortality were the same in both groups. The following risk factor levels were lower for intervention patients than for comparison patients (median values): fasting plasma glucose concentration (7.9 v 8.7 mmol/l, P=0.0007), glycated haemoglobin (8.5% v 9.0%, P<0.0001; reference range 5.4-7.4%), systolic blood pressure (145 v 150 mm Hg, P=0.0004), and cholesterol concentration (6.0 v 6.1 mmol/l, P=0.029, adjusted for baseline concentration). Both groups had lost weight since diagnosis (2.6 v 2.0 kg). Metformin was the only drug used more frequently in the intervention group (24% (110/459) v 15% (61/415)).Intervention doctors arranged more follow up consultations, referred fewer patients to diabetes clinics, and set more optimistic goals.

Conclusions: In primary care, individualised goals with educational and surveillance support may for at least six years bring risk factors of patients with type 2 diabetes to a level that has been shown to reduce diabetic complications but without weight gain.

What is already known on this topic

What is already known on this topic Evidence is increasing that control of hyperglycaemia, hypertension, and dyslipidaemia may postpone the development of diabetic complications in patients with type 2 diabetes

Maintaining good control over a long period can be difficult

What this study adds

What this study adds Structured individualised personal care with educational and surveillance support for general practitioners reduced levels of risk factors in type 2 diabetic patients after six years

Risk factors were reduced to a level that has been shown to have a beneficial effect on diabetic complications Participants also showed modest weight loss


  • Editorials by Griffin and Wagner

  • Funding Danish Medical Research Council, Danish Research Foundation for General Practice, Health Insurance Foundation, Danish Ministry of Health, Novo Nordisk Farmaka Denmark, Pharmacy Foundation, Foundation for General Practice in Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Tårnby og Dragør, Dr Sofus Carl Emil Friis and his wife Olga Doris Friis Trust, Danish Medical Association Research Fund, Velux Foundation, Rockwool Foundation, Novo Nordisk, Danish Diabetes Association, Oda og Hans Svenningsen Foundation, A P Møller Foundation for Advancement of Medical Science, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Captain Axel Viggo Mørch and his wife's Trust, Danish Eye Health Society, Mogens and Jenny Vissing's Trust, and Bernhard and Marie Klein's Trust.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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