Monday, June 25, 2012

Risk for Sulfonylureas Use with Diabetes Meds

Three diabetes  drugs are associated with a greater risk of death when compared to a drug from a different class, metformin, according to a recently published study.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 24,000 patients with type 2 diabetes, average age 62, who were treated with one of three drugs called sulfonylureas (glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride) or with another type of drug called metformin.
Sulfonylureas help decrease blood sugar levels by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin. Metformin also helps reduce blood sugar levels.
Overall, all three sulfonylureas were associated with a more than 50 percent greater risk of death compared to metformin, according to the study, which was funded by drug company Astra Zeneca.
The researchers also found that, among diabetes patients with heart disease, glipizide was associated with a 41 percent greater risk of death and glyburide was associated with a 38 percent greater risk of death, compared with glimepiride and metformin.
According to one expert not connected to the study, the new data could provide some guidance for patients.
"Patients taking sulfonylureas should be made aware of this increased risk of death and other oral options for glycemic [blood sugar] control should be discussed," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist.