Diabetes Medications: No Clear Difference in Effect on Life Expectancy or Heart Disease


Dr. Suetonia Palmer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Principal investigator A/Prof Suetonia Palmer PhD
University of Otago, New Zealand

Giovanni F. M. Strippoli, PhD Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation University of Bari Bari, Italy

Dr. Giovanni Strippoli

Senior investigator
Prof. Giovanni Strippoli
University of Sydney, Australia and Diaverum, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Network meta-analysis is a new technique that allows us to evaluate ALL medical therapies for a specific clinical problem. We wondered whether any of the usual drugs used to treat glucose levels in people with diabetes were safest or most effective.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that despite over 300 trials, there is still very little information that treatment with glucose lowering drugs can help prolong life expectancy or prevent heart disease. Most trials are quite small and of short duration.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Readers should come away from the report being able to understand the overall scientific evidence for treatment of type 2 diabetes using a single drug, or drugs when added to metformin or drugs when added to metformin + a sulfonylurea. Patients and clinical doctors can be reassured that the best available evidence supports current practice, but that patients who might wish to avoid low blood sugar or weight gain might choose different treatment options.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This study suggests we need, as a scientific community, to design and run large scale and inexpensive clinical trials that measure the effects of drugs on the way patients feel, function, or survive rather than intermediate outcomes such as glycated hemoglobin. We particularly need trials in which drugs are compared with each other for effects on life expectancy and cardiovascular complications.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Comparison of Clinical Outcomes and Adverse Events Associated With Glucose-Lowering Drugs in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes A Meta-analysis
Suetonia C. Palmer PhD, Dimitris Mavridis PhD, Antonio Nicolucci MD, David W. Johnson PhD, Marcello Tonelli MD, Jonathan C. Craig PhD, Jasjot Maggo MMed, Vanessa Gray MSc, Giorgia De Berardis MSc, Marinella Ruospo MSc, Patrizia Natale MSc, Valeria Saglimbene MSc, Sunil V. Badve MD, Yeoungjee Cho PhD, Annie-Claire Nadeau-Fredette MD, Michael Burke MD, Labib Faruque MSc, Anita Lloyd MSc, Nasreen Ahmad BSc, Yuanchen Liu , Sophanny Tiv BSc, Natasha Wiebe MMath, Giovanni F. M. Strippoli PhD
JAMA. 2016;316(3):313-324. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.9400

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Last Updated on July 19, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD