Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are seeking volunteers to participate in a study comparing the long-term risks and benefits of four widely prescribed diabetes drugs. The medications will be given in combination with the widely used metformin.
The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness (GRADE) study will span five years, during which time researchers will evaluate how the drugs affect blood sugar levels, diabetes complications and quality of life. Each drug’s side effects will also be noted. The research team also aims to examine individual factors associated with better or worse response to the various drugs.
Researchers expect to enroll about 5,000 participants from across the country who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the past 10 years. Participants may be taking metformin but they cannot be on any other diabetes medication. During the study, all participants will take metformin along with a second drug from one of four FDA-approved drug classes approved for use with metformin.
The classes of type 2 diabetes drugs to be tested include sulfonylureas (Glibenclamide, Glimepiride, Glipizide), DPP-4 inhibitors (Sitagliptin/Januvia, Lingliptin/Tradjenta), GLP-1 agonists (exenatide/Byetta, Liraglutide/Victoza) and a long-acting form of insulin.
Adverse effects of type 2 diabetes medications is a serious concern, with some medications being linked to cancer risks. For example, Actos has been linked to bladder cancer, and Januvia and Byetta increase the risk of acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
“This study will help us understand how different combinations of medications affect the disease over time and ultimately will help physicians make better choices for their patients’ long-term care,” said Barbara Linder, MD, PhD, the GRADE project officer at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Source: Health Canal