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BACKGROUND: The 20-year UK Prospective Diabetes Study showed major clinical benefits for people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes randomly allocated to intensive glycaemic control with sulfonylurea or insulin therapy or metformin therapy, compared with conventional glycaemic control. 10-year post-trial follow-up identified enduring and emerging glycaemic and metformin legacy treatment effects. We aimed to determine whether these effects would wane by extending follow-up for another 14 years. METHODS: 5102 patients enrolled between 1977 and 1991, of whom 4209 (82·5%) participants were originally randomly allocated to receive either intensive glycaemic control (sulfonylurea or insulin, or if overweight, metformin) or conventional glycaemic control (primarily diet). At the end of the 20-year interventional trial, 3277 surviving participants entered a 10-year post-trial monitoring period, which ran until Sept 30, 2007. Eligible participants for this study were all surviving participants at the end of the 10-year post-trial monitoring period. An extended follow-up of these participants was done by linking them to their routinely collected National Health Service (NHS) data for another 14 years. Clinical outcomes were derived from records of deaths, hospital admissions, outpatient visits, and accident and emergency unit attendances. We examined seven prespecified aggregate clinical outcomes (ie, any diabetes-related endpoint, diabetes-related death, death from any cause, myocardial infarction, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and microvascular disease) by the randomised glycaemic control strategy on an intention-to-treat basis using Kaplan-Meier time-to-event and log-rank analyses. This study is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN75451837. FINDINGS: Between Oct 1, 2007, and Sept 30, 2021, 1489 (97·6%) of 1525 participants could be linked to routinely collected NHS administrative data. Their mean age at baseline was 50·2 years (SD 8·0), and 41·3% were female. The mean age of those still alive as of Sept 30, 2021, was 79·9 years (SD 8·0). Individual follow-up from baseline ranged from 0 to 42 years, median 17·5 years (IQR 12·3-26·8). Overall follow-up increased by 21%, from 66 972 to 80 724 person-years. For up to 24 years after trial end, the glycaemic and metformin legacy effects showed no sign of waning. Early intensive glycaemic control with sulfonylurea or insulin therapy, compared with conventional glycaemic control, showed overall relative risk reductions of 10% (95% CI 2-17; p=0·015) for death from any cause, 17% (6-26; p=0·002) for myocardial infarction, and 26% (14-36; p<0·0001) for microvascular disease. Corresponding absolute risk reductions were 2·7%, 3·3%, and 3·5%, respectively. Early intensive glycaemic control with metformin therapy, compared with conventional glycaemic control, showed overall relative risk reductions of 20% (95% CI 5-32; p=0·010) for death from any cause and 31% (12-46; p=0·003) for myocardial infarction. Corresponding absolute risk reductions were 4·9% and 6·2%, respectively. No significant risk reductions during or after the trial for stroke or peripheral vascular disease were observed for both intensive glycaemic control groups, and no significant risk reduction for microvascular disease was observed for metformin therapy. INTERPRETATION: Early intensive glycaemic control with sulfonylurea or insulin, or with metformin, compared with conventional glycaemic control, appears to confer a near-lifelong reduced risk of death and myocardial infarction. Achieving near normoglycaemia immediately following diagnosis might be essential to minimise the lifetime risk of diabetes-related complications to the greatest extent possible. FUNDING: University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Population Health Pump Priming.

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