Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Popular diabetes drugs compared in a large study

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body has trouble controlling blood sugar, also known as blood sugar. High blood sugar levels can cause problems throughout the body. This can lead to nerve damage, heart disease, and other concerns.

Health professionals often recommend a healthy diet, exercise, and a drug called metformin as the initial approach to treating type 2 diabetes. Sometimes another medicine is given if the blood sugar becomes difficult to control.

A recent clinical study compared four common diabetes drugs to see which would be best to combine. The study enrolled more than 5,000 people. The participants were given metformin along with another drug. The other medicine was one of the following: sitagliptin, liraglutide, glimepiride, or insulin glargine U-100.

After about five years, all four drugs improved blood sugar levels when added to metformin. Liraglutide and insulin glargine improved blood glucose levels slightly more than the others. However, nearly three out of four study participants were still unable to maintain their blood sugar targets at the end of the study.

There were also minor differences in the effects of the drugs on blood glucose, heart disease and other conditions. For example, the liraglutide or insulin glargine groups maintained their target blood glucose levels for longer. But the liraglutide group was more susceptible to digestive problems.

“This study was designed to provide health care providers with important information about how to guide the long-term management of type 2 diabetes,” says Henry Burch, NIH project scientist for the study. “These results can now be used in the decision-making process for each individual patient.”



  • Reduction of glycemia in type 2 diabetes-glycemic outcomes. GRADE Study Research Group, Nathan DM, Lachine JM, Balasubramaniam A, Burch HB, Buss JB, Butera NM, Cohen RM, Crandall JP, Kahn SE, Krauss-Steinraff H, Larkin ME, Rasoulli N, Tiktin M, Wexler DJ, Yunus. n; The Grade Study Research Group. Ann Engl J Med.2022 Sep 22;387(12):1063-1074. DOI: 10.1056/nejmoa2200433. PMID: 36129996.
  • Reduction of glycemia in type 2 diabetes – microvascular and cardiovascular consequences. GRADE Study Research Group, Nathan DM, Lachine JM, Bebu I, Birch HB, Buss JB, Cherrington AL, Fortman SP, Green JB, Kahn SE, Kirkman MS, Krauss-Steinrauf H, Larkin ME, Phillips LS, Pop-Busui R. , Steefs M, Tiktin M, Triputi M, Wexler DJ, Yunus N; The Grade Study Research Group. Ann Engl J Med. 2022 Sep 22;387(12):1075-1088. DOI: 10.1056/nejmoa2200436. PMID: 36129997.
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