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article imageDiabetic drugs may increase your risk of heart failure

By Karen Graham     Mar 29, 2015 in Health
Ontario - A new study on the use of diabetic drugs to lower blood sugar levels has shown that patients are at a greater risk of developing heart failure.
For people with Type 2 diabetes, heart failure is often a complication, having a major impact on not only the quality of the patient's life but on life expectancy as well. It also leads to increased healthcare costs. Researchers wanted to find out the extent to which diabetic drugs or strategies increased the risk of heart failure, and whether the risk was associated with differences in weight gain.
Data from 14 clinical trials lasting from two to three years was examined. The trials covered over 95,000 patients. Researchers discovered 3,907, or four percent of the patients experienced a heart failure event. Glucose lowering drugs or strategies were associated with a 0.0 to 50 percent reduction of the patient's Hemoglobin A1C levels along with a two to eight pound weight gain.
Dr. Jacob Udell, the study’s principal investigator, and a cardiologist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University Health Network (UHN) and Women’s College Hospital (WCH) said the study showed that for every one kilogram, or two pounds of weight gain in patients using new or more intensive blood-sugar lowering therapies, there was an overall 14 percent increased risk of developing heart failure.
The magnitude and differences were dependent on the type of blood-sugar-lowering medications being used, with some drugs having a higher incidence of cardiovascular effects than others. Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University Health Network (UHN), pointing out that diabetes is a number one killer globally, said the new research could prove to be a "catalyst for how diabetes patients at risk for heart disease are managed."
The study, "Glucose-lowering drugs or strategies and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with or at risk for type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials," was published online March 16, 2015 in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
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