A Taiwanese medical team has discovered that people with diabetes who take the drug metformin with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors as an add-on are 32 percent less likely to suffer a major adverse cardiovascular event than those who take metfromin with sulfonylureas as an add-on.
The team was led by Chen Yung-tai (陳永泰), a physician at Taipei City Hospital’s Heping Fuyou Branch, Kuo Shu-chen (郭書辰), a physician at National Health Research Institute, and Shih Chia-jen (施家仁), a physician at the Deran Clinic.
Chen said diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the nation and it is also often the main reason patients require dialysis, so controlling a patient’s blood sugar level is an important therapeutic goal of treating diabetes.
“Good control of blood sugar level can help prevent acute complication of diabetes, such as ketoacidosis and hyperosmolarhyperglycemia, and also reduce the risk of developing chronic complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy and cardiovascular disease,” he said.
Statistics show that nearly 70 percent of Taiwanese with diabetes are likely to develop cardiovascular complications, with 75 percent of them at risk of death by cardiovascular disease and nearly 30 percent likely to develop complications of the kidney, Chen said, adding that the majority of diabetes patients control blood sugar levels with oral drugs.
The team’s study of 70,340 people with diabetes between 2009 and 2012 showed that patients who took metformin with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors as an add-on had a 57 percent reduced risk of suffering hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and a 37 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality, compared with people who took metformin with sulfonylureas as an add-on.
Chen said the study showed that using dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but that because all diabetes cases differ, patients should discuss their treatment thoroughly with their doctor before changing their prescribed drugs.
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