In a nutshell
This study examined if glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) drugs could reduce the rate of heart disease and stroke in patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2D). The authors found that fewer patients who received GLP-1RA drugs developed heart disease or stroke compared to those who received a placebo.
Patients with T2D are at higher risk of developing other health complications, such as heart disease and stroke. Heart disease occurs when the blood vessels around the heart become blocked. Major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) is where a patient suffers from a heart attack and survives. A stroke occurs when blood vessels in the brain become blocked. Both are serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.
GLP-1RAs are drugs that are used to lower blood glucose levels for patients with T2D. Some studies suggest that certain GLP-1RA drugs may also reduce the occurrence of heart disease. However, it remains unclear if GLP-1RAs as a whole class of drugs can reduce heart disease and stroke in patients with T2D.
Methods & findings
This study examined the findings of seven studies that evaluated the effects of GLP-1RAs on heart disease and stroke in patients with T2D. Patients were divided into two groups. 27977 patients received a GLP-1RA drug, and 28027 patients received a placebo (substance with no active effect). Patients were followed for 1.3 to 5.4 years.
Fewer patients who received GLP-1RAs developed from MACE (10.5%) compared to placebo (11.8%). GLP-1RA treatment lowered the risk of developing MACE by 13% compared to the placebo.
Fewer patients who received GLP-1RAs had a non-fatal heart attack (5.2%) compared to placebo (5.7%). Fatal heart attacks were slightly less common in the GLP-1RA group (4.1%) compared to placebo (4.6%). Compared to placebo, GLP-1RA treatment lowered the risk of heart attack by 10% and reduced the mortality risk associated with a heart attack by 12%.
Fewer patients who received GLP-1RAs had a non-fatal stroke (2.2%) compared to placebo (2.7%). GLP-1RA treatment lowered the risk of stroke by 17% compared to the placebo.
No significant differences in outcomes were found between men and women, obese and non-obese patients and older and younger patients.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that GLP-1RA drugs reduced the occurrence of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke in patients with T2D.
The fine print
This study included trials that examined patients for different lengths of time. The studies analyzed here also selected participants who had a high risk of heart disease to begin with. So, the patient population in this study may not accurately reflect real-life patients.
Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.
Published By :
Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Oct 09, 2019
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