AIMS/HYPOTHESIS - After achieving glycaemic control, many type 2 diabetic patients relapse to clinically significant levels of hyperglycaemia. We sought to determine the optimal frequency of telephone contact by nurse practitioners that was necessary to prevent glycaemic relapse.
METHODS - This parallel, randomised controlled trial ran from June 2002 to February 2006 at an academic medical centre, studying 164 type 2 diabetic patients who had recently achieved glycaemic control. Participants were randomly assigned by sequential, concealed, computer-generated allocation to a 2 year maintenance strategy consisting of: (1) routine follow-up (n = 54); (2) routine follow-up and quarterly telephone contact (n = 55); or (3) routine follow-up and monthly telephone contact (n = 55). Blinding was not possible. The primary outcome was cumulative incidence of glycaemic relapse, defined as an increase in HbA(1c) of > or =1%; all participants were analysed. Cumulative incidence and prevalent proportions were compared. Weight change and hypoglycaemia were also assessed.
RESULTS - All participants randomised were included in the analyses. The study was completed by 90% of participants and intervention fidelity was high. At 24 months, the cumulative incidence of relapse was 41%. At 12 months, prevalent proportions of relapse were 20%, 14% and 15% for control, quarterly contact and monthly contact, respectively. At 24 months, they were 25%, 21% and 29%, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in cumulative incidence or prevalent proportions of relapse among the study arms. Adverse events did not differ between study arms.
CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION - This first randomised controlled trial to test an intervention to prevent glycaemic relapse found that regularly scheduled telephone contact by a nurse practitioner was no more effective than routine follow-up care in preventing glycaemic relapse.