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Health & Medicine Diabetic Medication may help Prevent Heart Failure in some Patients, More than 25 Million in U.S. with Diabetes

Diabetic Medication may help Prevent Heart Failure in some Patients, More than 25 Million in U.S. with Diabetes

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First Posted: Mar 10, 2013 02:14 PM EDT
Longer Use of Statins Prevents Dementia and Memory Loss
Longer Use of Statins Prevents Dementia and Memory Loss (Photo : flickr.com/Rev Dan Catt)

A study at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit shows that a class of medications commonly prescribed to lower blood sugar in diabetic patients also appear to protect them from developing heart failure.

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"People with diabetes are at risk for developing heart failure," says Henry Ford researcher and cardiologist David Lanfear, M.D., lead author of the study. "Diabetic adults die of heart disease two to four times more than those without diabetes.

"Our study data suggest that diabetic patients taking a particular class of medications are less likely to develop heart failure," adds Dr. Lanfear.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 25 million adults and children in the U.S. with diabetes. The ADA estimates that nearly 80 million people may be pre-diabetic, with nearly two million new cases diagnosed in adults in 2010. In 2007, diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.

The retrospective study looked at 4,427 diabetic patients who were taking blood-sugar-lowering medications at Henry Ford Hospital between January 1, 2000 and July 1, 2012. Of these patients, 1,488 were taking GLP-1 medications (glucagon-like peptide-1 analogs and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors) and 2,939 were not.

Over an observation time of 663 days, there were 281 hospitalizations, of which 184 were due to heart failure, and 158 deaths.

Researchers adjusted the following factors to include gender, age, race, coronary disease, heart failure, duration of diabetes, and the number of anti-diabetic medications, in order to help identify the effect specifically attributable to taking GLP-1 medications.

The researchers also looked at hospitalizations and deaths from all causes.

Use of GLP1 medications was associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization for heart failure or any other reason, as well as fewer deaths.

"These preliminary results look very promising," says Dr. Lanfear. "However this was a retrospective study and this subject needs further investigation."

The results will be presented March 10 at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in San Francisco.

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