Nine classes of diabetes drugs were put to the test to determine whether or not they elongated patients’ lives or helped lower the risk of a major cardiovascular incident when compared to a placebo. The test showed that these drugs were not as effective as previously thought in doing so, and that they do not increase survival rates in those with Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers tested several diabetes drugs, including insulin, to monitor their efficacy and their ability to lower to risk of strokes and heart attacks. 177 studies involved giving participants with diabetes just one pill, which involved over 56,000 people. Over 53,000 patients in 109 trials were given metformin and another diabetes drug. Lastly, 29 trials involved over 10,000 patients who were given metformin, sulfonylurea and a third diabetes drug.
“Considerable uncertainty about the association of drug treatment with cardiovascular mortality existed within trial evidence, largely because of few events in most available studies.”
With 120,000 people with diabetes participating in this study, it was found that none of the drugs did much to prevent heart attack or stroke, nor did they prolong a patients’ life. However, Tech Times states that the findings are consistent with the American Diabetes Association, who recommend metformin as a first line of defense when treating diabetes, and adding medication according to the individual’s case.
The researchers also wrote:
“A central finding in this meta-analysis was that despite more than 300 available clinical trials involving nearly 120,000 adults and 1.4 million patient-months of treatment, there was limited evidence that any glucose-lowering drug stratified by coexisting treatment prolonged life expectancy or prevented cardiovascular disease.”
The drug trials were randomized and lasted 24 weeks. In addition to the inclusion of the aforementioned drugs, the researchers also tested “meglitinides, α-glucosidase inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.”
Two past studies have demonstrated that two diabetes drugs are actually associated with lower mortality. However, those trials did not use the drugs as monotherapy (the only drug used) or as an addition to the standard treatment of metformin.
Researchers say that more studies and information will be needed to extrapolate on past studies that demonstrate lower mortality risks.