Strategies to make Ramadan fasting safer in type 2 diabetics: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and observational studies

Shaun Wen Huey Lee, Jun Yang Lee, Christina San San Tan, Chee Piau Wong

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims whereby they fast from predawn to after sunset and is observed by all healthy Muslim adults as well as a large population of type 2 diabetic Muslims. To determine the comparative effectiveness of various strategies that have been used for type 2 diabetic Muslim who fast during Ramadan. A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies (RCT) as well as observational studies for patients with type 2 diabetes who fasted during Ramadan was conducted. Eight databases were searched from January 1980 through October 2015 for relevant studies. Two reviewers independently screened and assessed study for eligibility, assessed the risk of bias, and extracted relevant data. A network meta-analysis for each outcome was fitted separately, combining direct and indirect evidence for each comparison. Twenty-nine studies, 16 RCTs and 13 observational studies each met the inclusion criteria. The most common strategy used was drug changes during the Ramadan period, which found that the use of DPP-4 (Dipeptidyl peptidase inhibitor -4) inhibitors were associated with a reduction in incidence of experiencing hypoglycemia during Ramadan in both RCTs (pooled relative risk: 0.56; 95% confidence interval: 0.44- 0.72) as well as in observational studies (pooled relative risk: 0.27; 0.09-0.75). Ramadan-focused education was shown to be beneficial in reducing hypoglycemia in observational studies but not RCTs (0.25 versus 1.00). Network meta-analyses suggest that incretin mimetics can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia by nearly 1.5 times. The newer antidiabetic agents appear to lower the risk of hypoglycemia and improved glycemic control when compared with sulfonylureas. Ramadan-focused education shows to be a promising strategy but more rigorous examination from RCTs are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2457
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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