The diabetes drug liraglutide could be effective in reducing heart attacks in people with type 2 diabetes, research suggests.
Liraglutide, marketed as Victoza and Saxenda, is a GLP-1 analogue which helps to reduce appetite and slow absorption in people with type 2 diabetes, lowering blood sugar levels.
Because people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), researchers have been investigating the effects of liraglutide in the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes: Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome (LEADER) trial.
In this new study, a team of scientists examined 9,340 people with type 2 diabetes who had a high risk of cardiovascular events. A total of 4,668 were given liraglutide, while 4,672 were assigned to placebo.
Liraglutide was shown to significantly reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (including stroke and non-fatal heart attack) compared to placebo, and also reduced the risk of a first heart attack in at-risk patients.
The researchers said: “Liraglutide reduces the total number of MI events in patients with type 2 [diabetes] at high risk, but no significant differences in subtype distribution were found between treatment groups.
“However, numeric differences in some subtypes between treatment groups suggest that liraglutide may also impact the clinical outcomes of MI.”
Last year, Victoza received EU approval to treat cardiovascular risks in type 2 diabetes, and these new findings add further weight to the heart benefits of the drug.
One limitation of the study, however, is that while numerically fewer incidences of myocardial infarction were associated with CV death with liraglutide than with placebo, the researchers noted that analyses were not adjusted for competing risk. This means that incidences of severe myocardial infarction may have been superseded in the event of a cardiovascular death.
The findings appear in the American Journal of Cardiology.

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