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Cardiovascular Disease and Oral Agent Glucose-Lowering Therapies in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Philip Home


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Although glucose-lowering oral agents have been available for clinical use for over 60 years, the formal evidence base supporting their advantage and safety in regard of cardiovascular (CV) outcomes remains less than optimal. However, a synthesis of the evidence results in a high probability of benefit. For metformin, the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) substudy is convincing for a definite effect in reducing myocardial infarction (MI), but the quantitative extent of that is uncertain. For sulfonylureas, support for reduction in MI comes from the UKPDS extension study, where the central estimate for risk reduction remains the same as in the original planned end to the study, but the greater number of events was statistically significant for the sulfonylurea/insulin arm. Other studies do not support the view that metformin and sulfonylureas differ with respect to MI or indeed CV outcomes more generally. The data available for acarbose, an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, are weak but not of concern, although some positive substudy data are available for people with impaired glucose tolerance. For peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonists the CV data are more controversial, but the purpose-designed randomized controlled trials are clear that pioglitazone is advantageous to placebo (except for heart failure [HF]), whereas rosiglitazone is indistinguishable from metformin/sulfonylureas (even when including HF data). Lower-quality data do, however, lead to significant concerns for MI with rosiglitazone. Early and somewhat low-quality data for the dipeptidyl peptidase inhibitors show they are safe and hold promise for cardiovascular advantage, with major randomized controlled trials being underway. Preliminary CV data are available for one sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor and look reassuring.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Home P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics

Year: 2012

Volume: 14

Issue: suppl. 1

Pages: S33-S42

Print publication date: 31/05/2012

ISSN (print): 1520-9156

ISSN (electronic): 1557-8593

Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


DOI: 10.1089/dia.2012.0007


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