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Heart Failure Overlooked in Diabetes Drug Trials

Allison Denton3 years ago

According to Medpage Today, medical experts are pressing clinicians to observe heart failure as an important outcome in clinical trials for diabetes drugs as heart failure is one of the most common diabetes complications.

About the Diabetes Drug Trials

“We believe that heart failure should be systematically evaluated in cardiovascular outcome trials of new glucose-lower drugs, either as a component of the primary composite outcome or as a pre-specified secondary endpoint.” – John McMurray, MD, of the University of Glasgow and his colleagues as published by Medpage Today

There are currently 150,000 patients with heart disease or a high burden of cardiovascular risk enrolled in clinical trials for diabetes drugs, leading specialists in the diabetes field, like Dr. John McMurray, to encourage that medical trials consider cardiovascular outcomes when testing new glucose-lowering medication.

In the past, specialists believed that glucose-lowering medication would decrease cardiovascular risk, but recent evidence suggests that diabetes medications in fact increases cardiovascular risk.

Most trials do not look to cardiovascular burden as an endpoint; rather, they mainly view major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) as the endpoint to avoid. MACE is a combination of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke.

How Great is the Risk of Heart Failure?

  • Although it is undeniably important to prevent MACE, it should be equally as important to look at the effects diabetes medication has on cardiovascular health in general.
  • In fact, heart failure is significantly more common in diabetes patients than cardiovascular death, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • A recent study that tested the cardiovascular outcomes for the DPP-4 inhibitor saxagliptin (Onglyza) found a signal for a higher risk of hospitalization for heart failure in diabetes patients.
  • By overlooking heart failure as an important endpoint in diabetes drug trials, significant cardiovascular effects of diabetes drugs are being ignored, warned McMurray, putting diabetes patients at risk.


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