MAR 25, 2016 1:48 PM PDT

Antidiabetic Drugs Not Associated with Increased Risk of Heart Failure

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Although a recent clinical trial had medical professionals worrying about the safety of patients taking incretin-based drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has clarified that these drugs do not cause an increase in risk for hospitalization due to heart failure, in comparison to other commonly prescribed oral antidiabetic drugs.

Incretin-based drugs like DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogs treat type 2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar. Concern surrounding their safety quickly caused a panic because over 12 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are prescribed incretin-based drugs to treat their condition. However, lead author of the paper Dr. Kristian B. Filion says that the panic resulting from the recent clinical study was a simply a result of inconsistent findings.
 


The study was completed by the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES). Scientists examined administrative electronic health records of over 1.4 million patients from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, looking to resolve the concern once and for all with an enormous sample size in their study. After looking for a link between type 2 diabetes patients taking incretin-based drugs and hospitalization for heart failure, co-author and cardiologist Dr. Jacob Udell and the rest of the team resolved that “these new sugar-lowering drugs do not raise the risk of heart failure compared with other options in our medicine cabinet.”

In contrast to type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is not a result of autoimmune disease. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease where the body becomes resistant to insulin after a prolonged occurrence of hyperglycemia. Incretin-based drugs prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes work by targeting the receptor of a gut hormone, called incretin (Diabetes Care). These drugs prevent incretin from being degraded following a consumption of a meal, so the hormone can continue to reduce blood glucose levels by stimulating release of insulin from the pancreas (Diabetes Self Management).

“This is reassuring news for the millions of patients with diabetes at risk for heart disease we see every day who need blood sugar control, " Udell said.
 

Source: McGill University
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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