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New Diabetes Drugs Don’t Increase Heart Attack Risk, But They Don’t Diminish Risk Either

Studies show that new-generation diabetes drugs don’t seem to increase a patient’s risk for having a heart attack. That’s the good news. Sadly, though, they don’t reduce this risk either.

Cardiovascular complications are common with diabetes and investigators had hoped that good blood sugar control might have heart protection benefits. But two studies, one of Nesina and the other of Onglyza, showed neither benefit nor harm when it came to heart attacks or strokes. Onglyza did appear to raise the chance of heart failure. That is also a possible complication with other diabetes medicines, such as Actos (pioglitazone).

These drugs are very expensive. If they prevented serious complications and deaths from diabetes they might well be worth the price. The new research leaves patients and physicians wondering which drug treatments will lead to better health and survival.

[New Engl. J. Med. online, Sept. 2, 2013]

Read more about these studies in our People’s Pharmacy Alert. For our evaluation of drugs and non-drug approaches to blood sugar control, we recommend our Guide to Managing Diabetes.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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