In a nutshell
This study looked at the cardiovascular effects of liraglutide (Victoza) in patients with type 2 diabetes who were at high cardiovascular risk. It found that patients taking liraglutide were less likely to experience death by cardiovascular causes, a nonfatal heart attack or nonfatal stroke over the course of the trial.
Patients with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) diseases leading to heart attacks or stroke. Therefore, it is important to understand the cardiovascular effects of all blood glucose lowering drugs.
Liraglutide is glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue, which increases insulin levels and lowers blood glucose levels in response to food. Liraglutide has also been associated with slight reductions in weight and blood pressure but increased pulse rate. The effect of liraglutide on cardiovascular risk factors is not known.
Methods & findings
This trial included 9340 patients randomly split into 2 groups. One group received liraglutide while the other received a placebo drug (substance with no effect on the body). Patients were followed for an average of 3.8 years.
Patients receiving liraglutide were 13% less likely to experience death due to cardiovascular causes or a nonfatal heart attack or stroke earlier than patients receiving a placebo. Overall, patients taking liraglutide were 22% less likely to die from a cardiovascular cause. Patients were also 15% less likely to die by any other cause. The overall rates of nonfatal heart attack or stroke were lower in patients receiving liraglutide, but the difference was not significant.
More patients in the liraglutide group failed to finish the trial. This was mainly due to gastrointestinal disorders.
The bottom line
This study concluded that patients with type 2 diabetes at increased cardiovascular risk are at lower risk of heart attack, stroke or death by any cause when taking liraglutide compared to a placebo.
The fine print
Patients in this trial had high long term glucose levels, measured by HbA1c. The majority had established cardiovascular disease or risk factors. Results may not apply to low risk patients.
This study was funded in part by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
Published By :
The New England Journal of Medicine
Jun 13, 2016
If you sign up for Medivizor, you'll receive PERSONALIZED updates that are JUST FOR YOU. Want to give it a try?