First-line treatment with sulfonylureas instead of metformin in people with type 2 diabetes is associated with a significantly elevated risk of death, according to results from an observational study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Barcelona.
Although guidelines do not recommend the use of sulfonylureas for first-line treatment, the drugs are still commonly prescribed this way in many countries. CJ Currie, an epidemiologist at Cardiff University in the UK, said that 7% of diabetics in the United Kingdom receive first-line treatment with sulfonylureas. He presented data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which includes 10% of primary care patients in the United Kingdom. Between 2000 and 2012, 76,811 patients with type 2 diabetes began glucose-lowering treatment with metformin, while 15,687 began treatment with sulfonylureas (which include glipizide, glyburide, and glimepiride).
After adjusting for baseline differences, mortality was 58% higher in the sulfonylurea group….