BALTIMORE-Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine are enrolling patients with type 2 diabetes into an NIH-funded clinical trial to evaluate the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most common first-line medication.
News from Danish pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk reinforces the growing trend toward using a two-drug combination in the early treatment of type 2 diabetes. (See "A Conversation About Janumet and Earlier Combination Therapy Type 2 Diabetes" for more discussion about the phenomenon.)
Combination therapy, in which doctors prescribe more than one drug to treat type 2 diabetes, is a fairly common practice. However, most newly diagnosed type 2 patients start off with metformin or a sulfonylurea and don't go on a two-drug therapy until their first drug begins to lose its effectiveness. But combination therapy could soon become an earlier option for people with type 2.
A Danish study of 107,806 adults taking various diabetes medications has found that three drugs are the most effective at lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and death: metformin, gliclazide (not marketed in the US), and repaglinide (Prandin). Other common diabetes medications, including glimepiride, glibenclamide (glyburide), glipizide, and tolbutamide, were linked to a higher risk of death both from all causes and from heart attack and stroke.
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