An injectable diabetes medication could lower the risk of death and cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
Scientists from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US report that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonists have a number of cardiovascular benefits for those with type 2 diabetes.
GLP-1 agonists are used to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes, which help to stimulate the release of insulin by the pancreas after eating, before blood sugars start to rise.
In this new study the US scientists examined links between GLP-1 agonists and heart health. They reviewed 105,862 people with type 2 diabetes from the Cleveland Clinic between 2004-2015.
Eight per cent of the participants had been taking GLP-1 medication, and the researchers used electronic health records to identify which patients had known cardiovascular disease and which patients didn’t.
Participants on GLP-1 drugs demonstrated a significantly lower risk for stroke and all-cause mortality. When the researchers then compared patients with and without CV disease separately, GLP-1 therapy also correlated with lower risk for poor cardiovascular outcomes.
Lead author Dr Kevin M. Pantalone said that while the findings are positive, there are some limitations with the study that need to be addressed in future research.
“It is difficult to know how long the patients in our study may have had T2DM, or what medications they may have been exposed to (and for how long), prior to them entering our health system,” Pantalone told Cardiology Advisor.
“Conducting additional studies using an incidence cohort of patients (i.e., those with a known date of T2DM diagnosis/duration of disease) would be helpful in determining if lower-risk CV patients with T2DM may also benefit from a CV standpoint from GLP-1 RA therapy.”
The study was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Health data on the heart risks associated with several diabetes medications will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association on June 9.