Diabetes Drugs Linked to Increased Risk of Death

A new study links three popular diabetes drugs to an increased risk of death compared to another widely used diabetes medication.

The three drugs are known as sulfonylureas (glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride) and help decrease blood-sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes, according to Science Daily.

Researchers identified 23,915 patients with Type 2 diabetes who previously received treatment either with one of the three sulfonylureas or another diabetes drug called metformin that also lowers blood sugar. They found that all three medications were associated with a more than 50 percent greater risk of death compared to metformin, according to Science Daily. They also found that among diabetes patients with heart disease, glimepiride is the only drug that did not increase the risk of death.

"We have clearly demonstrated that metformin is associated with a substantial reduction in mortality risk, and, thus, should be the preferred first-line agent, if one has a choice between metformin and a sulfonylurea," said lead author Kevin M. Pantalone, D.O., an endocrinologist at Summa Western Reserve Hospital who worked with Cleveland Clinic researchers on the study.

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