GLP-1 receptor agonists for diabetes: a review of the cardiovascular, kidney and mortality outcomes

Evaluating GLP-1 medications and heart health in patients with type 2 diabetes

Posted by Medivizor on Jun 14, 2020 in Diabetes mellitus |


In a nutshell

This study looked at how medications similar to the GLP-1 hormone affect heart health for patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). It found that GLP-1-like medications did not significantly improve heart health, but reduced overall mortality.

Some background

T2D is a disorder in which the body does not respond well to the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for controlling levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Patients with T2D typically need to use medications to control their blood glucose levels. Both T2D and the medications used to control it are linked to obesity. Patients with T2D have a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, which are also linked to obesity.

Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone released by the gut. GLP-11 helps the body produce insulin in response to glucose. Several medications act similar to GLP-1 in the body and improve the insulin response to blood sugar. Liraglutide (Victoza), semaglutide (Ozempic), and exenatide (Byetta) are examples of this class of medications. Some studies have found GLP-1-like medications may reduce the risk of heart disease for patients with T2D. However, it is unclear how GLP-1-like medications affect heart health for patients with T2D.

Methods & findings

This analysis included 16 studies of 285,436 patients with T2D. Patients in the active group were given GLP-1 similar medications. In some of the studies, active group patients were given both a GLP-1-similar medication and an additional medication. The comparison group was given metformin (Glucophage), insulin, or other diabetes medications. The studies followed patients for between 2.5 years and 14 years.

Ten of the studies compared overall mortality for the active and control groups. The results for the active groups varied from an 83% reduced risk and a 29% increased risk of mortality. The researchers excluded two studies with unusual timing. After combining results from the remaining eight studies, the active group patients had a 37% reduced risk of mortality.

Eleven studies looked at non-fatal heart attacks, strokes, and other major cardiovascular events. Combined results of 9 studies found that the active group had an 18% lower risk of non-fatal major cardiovascular events.

The bottom line

This analysis found that GLP-1 similar medications reduce the risk of mortality and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular events for patients with T2D.

The fine print

There were many differences between studies. These differences in study design make it more difficult to interpret combined results.

Published By :

International journal of clinical practice

Original Title :

Cardiovascular outcomes, heart failure and mortality in Type 2 diabetic patients treated with glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs): a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort studies.

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