A new study funded by us has shown that certain diabetes medications can protect people living with type 2 diabetes from serious heart complications.
Heart (or cardiovascular) disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. People living with diabetes have a higher risk of these complications. But some type 2 diabetes medications that work to lower blood sugar levels can also help to lower cardiovascular risk.
New study into diabetes medication and heart problems
They compared the risk of serious heart complications, like heart attack or stroke, in people with type 2 diabetes using these treatments to the risk in people using more traditional medications, like metformin or sulphonylureas.
They looked at data from GP and hospital records. Clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of SGLT2s and GLP1s have mainly involved people with type 2 diabetes who have a high-risk of heart disease. But this new study focused on people with a lower risk, who make up two thirds of people with type 2 diabetes.
Our researchers found that compared to people with type 2 diabetes using metformin or sulphonylureas, the risk of developing heart failure was:
- 51% lower for people with type 2 diabetes taking SGLT2 inhibitors
- 18% lower for people taking GLP-1s
- 57% lower for people taking both drugs
While the risk of having a heart attack or stroke was:
- 18% lower for people taking SGLT2 inhibitors
- 7% lower for people taking GLP-1s
- 30% lower for people taking both drugs
The researchers pointed out that people with type 2 diabetes are less likely to be prescribed SGLT2s or GLP-1s than more traditional type 2 treatments like metformin and sulphonylureas. This is partly because they’re more expensive options. But these new findings suggest that we need more research to find out their longer-term cost-effectiveness.
Professor Martin Rutter from the University of Manchester, who led the study, said:
Dr Faye Riley, our Senior Research Communications Officer, said: