This review examines recent randomized controlled cardiovascular (CV) outcome trials of glucose-lowering therapies in type 2 diabetes and their impact on the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. The trials were designed to comply with regulatory requirements to confirm that major adverse cardiac events (MACE) are not detrimentally affected by such therapies. Trials involving dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors did not alter a composite MACE outcome comprising CV deaths, non-fatal myocardial infarction and non-fatal stroke; however, the possibility that some members of this class might incur a small increased risk or worsening of heart failure cannot be excluded. Some studies on glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (liraglutide: LEADER trial; semaglutide: SUSTAIN-6 trial) found significant benefits for MACE, while treatment with sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors (empagliflozin: EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial; canagliflozin: CANVAS trial) also significantly reduced MACE and reduced hospitalization for heart failure. Comparisons among trials are complicated by variance in the populations recruited, particularly CV status at randomization, and differences in trial design, data collection and analyses. A large proportion of patients recruited into these trials have previously experienced adverse CV events; thus, the therapies are mostly assessing secondary prevention of a further event. This contrasts with the overall type 2 diabetes population receiving glucose-lowering therapies, of whom the majority will not have had MACE and will be regarded as primary prevention. Overall, the trials provide reassuring evidence that new glucose-lowering medications do not adversely affect CV events and some of these agents may offer CV protection.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bailey CJ, Marx N. Cardiovascular protection in type 2 diabetes: Insights from recent outcome trials. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018;1–12, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.13492. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
- cardiovascular outcomes
- type 2 diabetes