Relationship of baseline HbA1c and efficacy of current glucose-lowering therapies: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

R. A. DeFronzo, A. H. Stonehouse, J. Han, M. E. Wintle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Aims: Baseline glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) concentrations vary between clinical trials of glucose-lowering agents and this may affect interpretation of clinical efficacy. The objective of this study is to quantify the relationship between baseline HbA1c and reduction of HbA 1c in clinical trials. Methods: PubMed literature searches from 1991 to 2007. Randomized controlled studies with placebo-controlled or comparator arms [≥ 9 patients in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population] ranging in duration from 23 to 52 weeks, in which baseline and change in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) were reported. The relationship between baseline HbA1c and change in HbA1c was analysed by a weighted least-squared regression model accounting for ITT population and variance of HbA1c change. Fourteen per cent of independently abstracted studies met the selection criteria. Results: Meta-analysis from 59 clinical trials (8479 patients) produced weighted R2 of 0.35 (P < 0.0001) for the association of baseline HbA1c and absolute change in HbA 1c. Subanalysis of eight metformin clinical trials demonstrated a stronger association [weighted R2 of 0.67 (P = 0.0130)]. Exclusion of metformin clinical trials from the overall meta-analysis (n = 51) yielded a weighted R2 of 0.31 (P < 0.0001). Subanalyses of clinical trials of glucose-lowering therapies predominantly targeting fasting (n = 37) or postprandial (n = 22) blood glucose produced weighted R2 values of 0.27 (P < 0.001) and 0.42 (P < 0.005), respectively. Conclusions: These data demonstrate a positive relationship between baseline HbA1c and the magnitude of HbA1c change across 10 categories of glucose-lowering therapies, irrespective of class or mode of action. These observations should be considered when assessing clinical efficacy of diabetes therapies derived from clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Clinical studies
  • Diabetes
  • Glycated haemoglobin
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship of baseline HbA1c and efficacy of current glucose-lowering therapies: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this