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Mortality and cardiovascular risk associated with different insulin secretagogues compared with metformin in type 2 diabetes, with or without a previous myocardial infarction: a nationwide study

Tina Ken Schramm, Gunnar Hilmar Gislason, Allan Vaag, Jeppe Nørgaard Rasmussen, Fredrik Folke, Morten Lock Hansen, Emil Loldrup Fosbøl, Lars Køber, Mette Lykke Norgaard, Mette Madsen, Peter Riis Hansen, Christian Torp-Pedersen
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehr077 ehr077 First published online: 6 April 2011


Aims The impact of insulin secretagogues (ISs) on long-term major clinical outcomes in type 2 diabetes remains unclear. We examined mortality and cardiovascular risk associated with all available ISs compared with metformin in a nationwide study.

Methods and results All Danish residents >20 years, initiating single-agent ISs or metformin between 1997 and 2006 were followed for up to 9 years (median 3.3 years) by individual-level linkage of nationwide registers. All-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and the composite of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and cardiovascular mortality associated with individual ISs were investigated in patients with or without previous MI by multivariable Cox proportional-hazard analyses including propensity analyses. A total of 107 806 subjects were included, of whom 9607 had previous MI. Compared with metformin, glimepiride (hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals): 1.32 (1.24–1.40), glibenclamide: 1.19 (1.11–1.28), glipizide: 1.27 (1.17–1.38), and tolbutamide: 1.28 (1.17–1.39) were associated with increased all-cause mortality in patients without previous MI. The corresponding results for patients with previous MI were as follows: glimepiride: 1.30 (1.11–1.44), glibenclamide: 1.47 (1.22–1.76), glipizide: 1.53 (1.23–1.89), and tolbutamide: 1.47 (1.17–1.84). Results for gliclazide [1.05 (0.94–1.16) and 0.90 (0.68–1.20)] and repaglinide and [0.97 (0.81–1.15) and 1.29 (0.86–1.94)] were not statistically different from metformin in both patients without and with previous MI, respectively. Results were similar for cardiovascular mortality and for the composite endpoint.

Conclusion Monotherapy with the most used ISs, including glimepiride, glibenclamide, glipizide, and tolbutamide, seems to be associated with increased mortality and cardiovascular risk compared with metformin. Gliclazide and repaglinide appear to be associated with a lower risk than other ISs.

  • Diabetes type 2
  • Insulin secretagogues
  • Metformin
  • Mortality
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Population
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