Glimepiride Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Death Risk in People With Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Failure

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Glimepiride Linked to Lower Cardiovascular Death Risk in People With Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Failure

The type 2 diabetes drug glimepiride is linked to a lower risk for death from cardiovascular causes in people with both diabetes and heart failure, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Heart failure refers to the inability of the heart to adequately pump blood to meet the body’s needs. Diabetes and heart failure are linked in many ways — having diabetes and worse blood glucose control are both linked to the development of heart failure, and child-onset type 1 diabetes is linked to a higher risk for heart failure in young adults. Even taking common painkillers may be linked to a higher risk of developing heart failure among certain people with type 2 diabetes. The diabetes drug Farxiga (dapagliflozin) has been shown to reduce the risk for death from cardiovascular disease in people with heart failure, and has been separately approved as a heart failure treatment regardless of diabetes status.

For the latest study, researchers looked at data from 21,451 people with type 2 diabetes and heart failure who were hospitalized for any reason — but mostly relate to cardiovascular problems. Out of this group of participants, 638 were taking glimepiride, while 20,813 were not taking the drug. The researchers matched participants who were taking glimepiride with those who were not taking the drug based on as many similar characteristics as possible, coming up with 509 pairs of participants who matched closely enough to compare outcomes. Both groups of matched participants — those who took glimepiride and those who didn’t — were followed for a median duration of 34 months, as noted in an article on the study at Healio. The average age in both groups was 67, and 67% of both groups were men.

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Glimepiride linked to decreases risk of cardiovascular death

During the follow-up period, matched participants who took glimepiride were 53% less likely to die of all causes than those who didn’t take the drug. They were also 66% less likely to die of cardiovascular causes, 58% less likely to require an emergency department visit or hospitalization for heart failure, and 47% less likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack or stroke. What’s more, those who took a high dose of glimepiride — 2 to 4 milligrams daily — were 45% less likely to die of cardiovascular causes than those who took a low dose of 1 milligram daily.

The researchers noted that there was a plausible biological mechanism for glimepiride’s beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, suggesting that this drug works in the body in ways that aren’t directly related to blood glucose control. These results suggest, they wrote, that the category of type 2 diabetes drugs known as sulfonylureas — and especially glimepiride in particular — should be reevaluated as potentially promising treatments for people with diabetes and heart failure.

Want to learn more about protecting your heart? Read “Be Heart Smart: Know Your Numbers,” “Does Diabetes Hurt Your Heart?” “Fight Off Heart Disease With These Five Heart-Healthy Foods” and “Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.”

Living with type 2 diabetes? Check out our free type 2 e-course!

Quinn Phillips

Quinn Phillips

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A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.

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