Diabetes drug linked to lower risk of heart disease

London, Dec 6 (IANS): Using liraglutide - an injectable drug widely used to lower blood sugar levels - may help reduce risk of myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death, suggests a study.

Liraglutide - a diabetes medication in clinical use since 2009 - is a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist that lowers blood sugar and reduces body weight.

The findings, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, showed that people who used liraglutide had five fewer major cardiovascular events for three years.

"Our study provides support for the cardiovascular effectiveness of liraglutide among a broader unselected group of patients, providing important confirmatory evidence from routine clinical practice," said Bjorn Pasternak, senior researcher at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

"We believe it may be of interest to drug regulators, clinical guidelines, physicians and patients," Pasternak added.

Use of liraglutide was also associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular death and any cause of death.

For the study, the team used several nationwide registers with information on prescription drugs, diseases and other data from more than 46,000 patients in Sweden and Denmark between 2010 and 2016.

Around 23,000 patients initiating treatment with liraglutide were compared with the same number of patients initiating treatment with another diabetes drug, DPP4 inhibitors.

The main outcome in the study was major cardiovascular events, defined as myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death.

The rate of major cardiovascular events was 14 per 1,000 person-years among patients using liraglutide and 15.4 per 1,000 among patients using DPP4 inhibitors, a statistically significant difference, the researchers said.

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