Open Access Open Badges Research article

Incidence and predictors of hypoglycaemia in type 2 diabetes – an analysis of the prospective DiaRegis registry

Diethelm Tschöpe12*, Peter Bramlage3, Christiane Binz4, Michael Krekler4, Evelin Deeg5 and Anselm K Gitt56

Author Affiliations

1 Stiftung “Der herzkranke Diabetiker” in der Deutschen Diabetes Stiftung, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany

2 Herz- und Diabeteszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen, Universitätsklinik der Ruhr Universität Bochum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany

3 Institut für Pharmakologie und präventive Medizin, Mahlow, Germany

4 Bristol-Myers Squibb, Medical Department, Munich, Germany

5 Institut für Herzinfarktforschung Ludwigshafen an der Universität Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen, Germany

6 Herzzentrum Ludwigshafen, Medizinische Klinik B, Kardiologie, Ludwigshafen, Germany

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2012, 12:23  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-12-23

Published: 17 October 2012



Hypoglycaemia is a serious adverse effect of antidiabetic drug therapy. We aimed to determine incidence rates of hypoglycaemia in type-2 diabetic patients and identify predictors of hypoglycaemia when treatment is intensified.


DiaRegis is a prospective German registry that follows 3810 patients with type-2 diabetes referred for treatment intensification because of insufficient glycaemic control on one or two oral antidiabetic drugs.


Out of a total of 3347 patients with data available for the present analysis 473 (14.1%) presented any severity hypoglycaemia over a follow-up of 12 months. 0.4% were hospitalized (mean of 1.3±0.6 episodes), 0.1% needed medical assistance (1.0±0.0), 0.8% needed any help (1.1±0.5) and 10.1% no help (3.4±3.7), and 8.0% had no specific symptoms (3.6±3.5). Patients with incident hypoglycaemia had longer diabetes duration, higher HbA1c and a more frequent smoking history; more had co-morbid disease conditions such as coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, amputation, heart failure, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy and clinically relevant depression at baseline. Multivariable adjusted positive predictors of incident hypoglycaemia over the follow-up were prior anamnestic hypoglycaemia, retinopathy, depression, insulin use and blood glucose self-measurement, but not sulfonylurea use as previously reported for anamnestic or recalled hypogylcaemia. On the contrary, glitazones, DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues were associated with a reduced risk of hypoglycaemia.


Hypoglycaemia is a frequent adverse effect in ambulatory patients when antidiabetic treatment is intensified. Particular attention is warranted in patients with prior episodes of hypoglycaemia, microvascular disease such as retinopathy and in patients receiving insulin. On the other hand glitazones, DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues are associated with a reduced risk.