In a new study from King’s College London, researchers linked two types of less-often prescribed diabetes drugs with lower chances of potentially fatal heart problems—including heart attack, heart failure and stroke—in people with type 2 diabetes.
Different medications are available to people with type 2 diabetes, all of which work in different ways to lower blood glucose levels.
The team looked at two newer types of medication called SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs).
They compared the risk of serious heart or stroke problems in people with type 2 diabetes when using the newer diabetes treatments to the risk in people using more traditional therapies, such as metformin and sulphonylureas.
The researchers showed the odds of developing heart failure was 51 percent lower for people using SGLT2 inhibitors, 18 percent lower for GLP-1RAs users and 57 percent lower for people using both drugs.
The odds of having a heart attack or stroke were 18 percent lower for SGLT2 inhibitors, 7 percent lower for GLP-1RAs, and 30 percent lower for them given in combination.
Though SGLT2 inhibitors have been licensed since 2012, and GLP-1RA therapies since 2005, doctors routinely prescribe more traditional therapies for diabetes management which either have neutral or modest effects on reducing the risk of heart problems.
This new study focused on people with a lower risk, who make up two-thirds of people with type 2 diabetes.
The team says the good news is that SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1RA drugs not only control diabetes but also reduce the risk of developing serious cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.
And that could save thousands of lives every year—not to mention the avoidance of chronic illness in those who survive heart attacks and strokes.
The protective effect of these two types of medication can be seen as soon as patients start to receive them—the longer they take them, the greater the protection.
If you care about heart attack, please read studies that aspirin is effective for preventing recurrent heart attacks and strokes, and how high-protein diets could increase heart attack risk.
For more information about stroke, please see recent studies about small surgery can prevent strokes in people with heart issues, and cases showing that her heart ‘looked like Swiss cheese’ after stroke at 29.
The study is published in Diabetes Care and was conducted by Professor Darren Ashcroft et al.
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