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Diabetes Drug Onglyza Shown to Increase Number of Cardiac Hospitalizations

Filed September 9th, 2013 Laurie

The type 2 diabetes drug Onglyza (saxagliptin) has been associated with higher rates of hospitalizations due to heart failure. Bristol-Myers Squibb presented the information in a press release on September 2.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to properly pump blood to the rest of the body. It can be caused by heart attack, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cigarette smoking.

For the study, researchers looked at 16,492 patients with type 2 diabetes who were at high risk for cardiovascular events. Patients were assigned to treatment with Onglyza or placebo. Patients taking Onglyza had a slightly increased risk for heart failure-related hospitalizations, according to

Throughout the study, physicians were permitted to actively manage patients’ blood sugar levels through parallel use of other anti-diabetic drugs and dose titration. Patients were grouped into two categories:

  • Patients over 40 years of age with established cardiovascular disease, defined as ischemic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or ischemic stroke.
  • Males over 55 years of age, and females over 60 years of age with at least one of the following risk factors: dyslipidemia, hypertension or current smoking, but without established cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among diabetic patients, according to As many as 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes will develop and possibly die from a cardiac event.

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