Sulfonylurea as First-Line Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Linked to Increased Death RisSep 27, 2013
The usage of sulfonylurea drugs as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of death.
Medscape.com reports that researchers in Europe have discovered that using sulfonylureas as the first treatment against type 2 diabetes increases a person’s chance of death; therefore, these drugs should be avoided as a first option.
Overall, researchers were able to determine that the risk of death increased by 58 percent when using sulfonylureas over metformin, a long-used first-line diabetes drug. From a patient database in the U.K., the study identified more than 44 deaths per 1,000 patients treated with sulfonylureas in the fight against type 2 diabetes. Conversely, the study found just 13.6 deaths per 1,000 patients treated with metformin, according to Medscape.com.
The study noted that using sulfonylurea drugs – such as glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride -- as a first-line treatment in the management of type 2 diabetes symptoms has dropped considerably in recent times, but that nearly 20 percent of diabetics still receive these drugs soon after they’re diagnosed.
The low cost of glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride is often a reason these drugs are still prescribed, Medscape.com reports.
According to our previous reports, this study adds to evidence that many drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes carry risks of serious and life-threatening side effects. Lately, focus has shifted toward the drug Actos and its link to an increased risk of bladder cancer among patients taking it. In fact, this week a Maryland jury in a personal injury trial ruled that Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which makes Actos, had failed to properly warn the Plaintiff and his doctor about the risks of its Actos diabetes drug.