An Old Diabetes Drug Standby Might Lower Heart Risks

There are strong suggestions that metformin helps lower cardiovascular risks, but there are not enough data to be certain.

Nov 3, 2008

Metformin, the tried-and-true diabetes drug that is prescribed to many type 2s when they are first diagnosed, may decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. That's the conclusion of a meta-analysis by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. 

In a meta-analysis, researchers look at many different studies on the same topic in an attempt to detect overall patterns or relationships. In this case, the Johns Hopkins team examined 40 clinical trials of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes and then compared the incidences of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems associated with each drug.

The researchers were careful to use the word "may" when describing metformin's association with a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. They said that although they looked at many clinical trials, the data were still insufficient to assert that metformin definitely lowers cardiovascular risks-but the implications were strong that it does. 

They added that while metformin seems to present the least risk for death from cardiovascular disease among type 2 drugs, all other type 2 drugs show no statistically significant cardiovascular benefits or drawbacks.

Even in the case of rosiglitazone (Avandia), which the FDA has implicated in an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers found no "statistically significant" indication that this is in fact true. 

The Johns Hopkins team concluded that while their meta-analysis seemed to reveal no harmful cardiovascular effects from type 2 drugs, the lack of purposeful long-term studies on the drugs prevented them from saying definitively which drugs are safest. (Twenty-seven of the 40 studies they analyzed were a year or less in duration.) 

The team called for "studies of oral diabetes medications with long-term outcomes," adding that "Only long-term trials can provide definitive conclusions regarding the comparative efficacy of oral diabetes medications and long-term risks."

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Medications Research, Metformin, Type 2 Issues, Type 2 Medications

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.