One of the most commonly used drug for type 2 diabetes does not pose any risk, finds a study that looked at questions about the cardiovascular safety of medicines used to treat the disorder.
The drug sitagliptin did not increase the risk of heart failure, heart attacks and deaths owing to cardiovascular problems in patients who were prescribed the medication, stated the study published earlier this month. Sitagliptin is sold under various brand names in India.
The study called Trial Evaluating Cardiovascular Outcomes with Sitagliptin (TECOS), looked at over 14,000 patients with type 2 diabetes and with a history of heart disease.
It was carried out across 38 countries including India. Nearly 1,000 Indians were a part of the study and 30% of the sample size was from Asian countries.
The study, that took place between 2008 and 2012, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) earlier this month.
It was prompted by the increasing demand from drug regulatory bodies that every diabetes drug must establish its safety with regards to the cardiovascular diseases.
The study said that sitagliptin proved to be safe for patients with cardiovascular conditions. There is no increased risk of heart problems, including cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke or hospitalisation for chest pain, among patients who took the drug, it stated.
Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and the University of Oxford Diabetes Trials Unit (DTU) on behalf of American Diabetes Association (ADA) conducted the study.
“Diabetes is often the cause for many other health conditions, especially heart diseases. The study assures the safety of the drug against heart diseases,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist.
Other diabetics experts agreed. “This is the most exhaustive study that has conclusively established efficacy of sitagliptin. It does not reduce the already existing risk of heart disease but, it also does not contribute, which makes a marked difference when it comes to diabetic drugs,” said Dr Rajiv Kovil, diabetologist and medical director at Dr Kovil Diabetes Care Center, Andheri.
Diabetes drugs primarily prevents low sugar episodes in patients and also prevent weight gain which can complicate the symptoms.