May 2024Research at the Lady Davis Institute

Combining diabetes medications reduces risk of certain adverse effects, study finds

Individuals who take two particular kinds of medication for their type 2 diabetes are less likely to experience an adverse cardiovascular or renal event than if they took only one kind of medication, says a newly published study led by a senior researcher in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI) at the JGH.

The study, published in The BMJ (a journal under the auspices of the British Medical Association), looked at two classes of widely used drugs. The first is GLP-1 RA (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists), which covers medications such as Ozempic and Rybelsus. The other is SGLT-2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter) inhibitors, including Brenzavvy, Invokana and Farxiga.

The LDI research team under Prof. Laurent Azoulay, Senior Investigator in the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, found that combining one drug from each class was associated with a 30-per-cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular and renal events.

According to Prof. Azoulay, this was the first study of its kind, which used the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink to connect to databases that contain information about numerous patients who took various types of diabetes medication.

This enabled the researchers to compare what had actually happened to people who took a drug from both classes, as opposed to those who took medication only from one class or the other.

“The results of our study have the potential to inform treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes and to guide the treatment of those at an increased risk of cardiovascular and adverse renal events,” says Professor Azoulay.

“In particular, this information can help physicians decide if their patients on a GLP-1 RA or SGLT-2 inhibitor would benefit from combination treatment.”

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