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An analysis of forty drug trials was unsuccessful at producing reliable conclusions about the effects of oral diabetes drugs on cardiovascular health, despite controversy surrounding the diabetes drug Avandia.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found metformin, also known as Glucophage, appears to be associated with a decrease in heart disease and other heart-related deaths.
The study is reported in the October 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Avandia is a drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and prescribed by doctors for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and is also known by its generic name, rosiglitazone or rosiglitazone maleate.
Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, led a group of researchers that evaluated older medications versus newer, more expensive drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes. Avandia is one such newer drug.
Despite most of the drug trials being short-term thereby lacking the best data, researchers concluded the drug metformin is “moderately protective” and Avandia as “potentially harmful.”
An earlier study of the effects of diabetes drugs on cardiovascular health, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, 2007, found that while Avandia works well to reduce blood sugar, it is associated with a greater risk of heart attack.
In the latest study, researchers did not find a significant difference between the benefits or risk of cardiovascular effects of any given diabetes drug. The minor differences in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight observed after treatment with different types of diabetes drugs in the clinical trials “many not translate to changes in long-term cardiovascular health,” researchers said.
Selvin and her team conducted the study to assess the benefit or harm of oral diabetes drugs approved in the U.S. also including combinations of drug therapy.
A recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests approximately 24 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes, a staggering increase of 15 percent in two years.
Based on the report findings, an estimated 8 percent of people in the U.S. have type-2 diabetes which can be associated with poor diet, obesity, and lack of exercise.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. #