Effects of Glucose Control Last Years
Reported October 13, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Diabetes patients treated with drugs may be less at risk for some major complications of their disease even after therapy is discontinued, new research shows.
Researchers followed up on the large-scale United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) by selecting patients and following their progress for 10 years. Although intensive glucose therapy was administered during UKPDS, therapy was discontinued during the follow-up study to determine its long-term effects on microvascular and macrovascular complications.
Microvascular complications involve the small blood vessels and can lead to problems like neuropathy, whereas macrovascular complications involve the large blood vessels and can lead to heart disease.
Although study results show differences in blood sugar levels were lost after one year, patients continued to be less at risk for microvascular complications and heart attack after therapy.
More specifically, in overweight patients who received metformin (Glucophage), the risk of any diabetes-related complication was reduced by 21 percent, the risk of heart attack by 33 percent and the risk of death by 27 percent. Those treated with sulfonylurea (Amaryl) saw a nine percent reduction in their risk of diabetes-related complications, a 24 percent reduction in risk of microvascular disease, a 15 percent reduction in risk of heart attack and a 13 percent reduction in risk of death.
Our results highlight the added importance of glucose lowering in reducing the risk of coronary events and death from any cause, study authors wrote. The findings strengthen the rationale for attaining optimal glycemic control and indicate emergent long-term benefits on cardiovascular risk.
SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, 2008;359:1565-1576