Rare diabetes type may be over-treated

SOME patients with diabetes may be over-treated because doctors are unaware that they have an uncommon form of the disease attributable to a single genetic cause, an expert says.

Monogenetic diabetes was caused by a single mutation to one of several genes and affected 2–5% of patients with diabetes, according to Dr Andrew Cotterill, director of paediatric endocrinology at the Mater Children’s Hospital, Brisbane.

It was important to identify these patients because family members would be affected, the patient can often stop taking insulin, and follow-up need only be annual, Dr Cotterill told the Australian Diabetes Society conference.

“If they respond to sulphonylureas, which is the medication that will work well in these people, that transforms their life,” he said.

“If the child, the mother and the mother’s grandmother are all affected, then that’s fitting more with an autosomal dominant