, Volume 63, Issue 12, pp 1165–1184

Current Management Strategies for Coexisting Diabetes Mellitus and Obesity

Therapy in Practice

DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200363120-00001

Cite this article as:
Scheen, A.J. Drugs (2003) 63: 1165. doi:10.2165/00003495-200363120-00001


Besides genetic predisposition, obesity is the most important risk factor for the development of diabetes mellitus. Weight reduction has been shown to markedly improve blood glucose control and vascular risk factors associated with insulin resistance in obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Therapeutic strategies for the obese diabetic patient include: (i) promoting weight loss, through lifestyle modifications (low-calorie diet and exercise) and antiobesity drugs (orlistat, sibutramine, etc.); (ii) improving blood glucose control, through agents decreasing insulin resistance (metformin or thiazolidinediones, e.g. pioglitazone and rosiglitazone) or insulin needs (α-glucosidase inhibitors, e.g. acarbose) in preference to agents stimulating defective insulin secretion (sulphonylureas, meglitinide analogues); and (iii) treating common associated risk factors, such as arterial hypertension and dyslipidaemias, to improve cardiovascular prognosis. Whenever insulin is required by the obese diabetic patient after failure to respond to oral drugs, it should be preferably prescribed in combination with an oral agent, more particularly metformin or acarbose, or possibly a thiazolidinedione. When morbid obesity is present, both restoring a good glycaemic control and correcting associated risk factors can only be obtained through a marked and sustained weight loss. This objective justifies more aggressive weight reduction programmes, including very-low-calorie diets and bariatric surgery, but only within a multidisciplinary approach and long-term strategy.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Diabetes, Department of MedicineNutrition and Metabolic Disorders, CHU Sart TilmanLiègeBelgium