Oral diabetes drugs carry cardiovascular risks: Indian-American expert

August 29th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) A class of oral drugs used in treating type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar may make heart failure worse, says a new report co-authored by an Indian-American expert. “We strongly recommend restrictions in the use of thiazolidinediones (a class of oral drugs) and question the rationale for leaving rosiglitazone on the market,” wrote Sonal Singh, assistant professor of internal medicine, and Curt D Furberg, professor of public health sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine in an editorial in the journal Heart.

Rosiglitazone and pioglitazone are the two major thiazolidinediones. “At this time, justification for use of thiazolidinediones is very weak to non-existent,” said Singh and Furberg.

But diabetics also experience elevated rates of high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, which “further compound their already increased risk of developing ischemic heart disease”, Singh and Furberg said.

Heart disease and high blood pressure “represent conditions that are major precursors of congestive heart failure”.

About 22 percent of diabetics have heart disease. Among elderly patients with diabetes, more than half will develop congestive heart failure over a 10-year period, the editorial says.

The thiazolidinediones were approved for use based on the ability to reduce blood sugar, reports Eurekalert.

In contrast, “we reported (in Diabetes Care) in June 2007 that thiazolidinediones doubled the risk of congestive heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes,” they said. “The increased heart failure appears to be a class effect.”

Singh and Furberg reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007 after an analysis of four long-term trials that use of rosiglitazone was associated both with increased heart attacks and a doubling of heart failure.

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