Some blood glucose-lowering drugs could increase the risk of heart failure, according to new research.
The study, published in The Lancet, found that for every kilogram of weight gain caused by type 2 diabetes drugs, the risk of heart failure increased by seven per cent.
Four per cent of the study’s participants experienced heart failure during individual trials. Over the course of the whole study, 9.8 per cent of participants experienced serious cardiovascular issues.
Heart disease is one of the most common diabetic complications. Some studies suggest that as many as 80 per cent of people with diabetes will die from heart-related health problems.
The researchers recommend weight loss, exercise, and dietary changes as ways to treat type 2 diabetes without increasing the risk of heart disease.
The study does not suggest avoiding all glucose-lowering medication. In many cases medication is an advisable course of treatment. Moreover, the increased risk of heart failure was not associated with all forms of glucose-lowering medication. Risks must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The researchers wrote: “Compared with standard care, glycemic lowering by various drugs or strategies might increase the risk of heart failure, with the magnitude of risk dependent on the method of glucose lowering and, potentially, weight gain.
Jacob Udell, of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, and Women’s College Hospital said: “Patients randomised to new or more intensive blood sugar-lowering drugs or strategies to manage diabetes showed an overall 14 per cent increased risk for heart failure.
“This increased risk was directly associated with the type of diabetes therapy that was chose, with some drugs more likely to cause heart failure than others, compared with placebo or standard care.”
Michael Farkouh, of the Peter Munk Centre of Excellence in Multinational Clinical Trials, said: “While some drugs showed an increased risk, other strategies, such as intensive weight loss to control blood sugar, showed a trend towards a lower risk of heart failure.”
Source: The Lancet

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