Warning on 5 Diabetes Drugs that Increase Heart Failure

People with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease, and 68% of diabetics over age 65 will die from some form of heart disease.  But new research shows that patients taking any of several type 2 diabetes medications are even more likely to develop heart failure, compared to patients on other diabetes medications.

In April 2016, the FDA announced that patients taking any of five Type 2 diabetes medications containing saxagliptin or alogliptin are more likely to develop heart failure than if they took other diabetes medication, especially if they already have heart disease or kidney disease. This includes the following medications:

AstraZeneca’s Onglyza (saxagliptin)

AstraZeneca’s Kombiglyze (saxagliptin and metformin extended release)

Takeda’s Nesina (alogliptin)

Takeda’s Kazano (alogliptin and metformin)

Takeda’s Oseni (alogliptin and pioglitazone)

Saxagliptin and alogliptin lower blood sugar levels by blocking the breakdown of a hormone that stimulates insulin production. Warnings are for both medications even though studies showed saxagliptin is the more dangerous of the two.

Since heart disease is the #1 killer of women and men, patients should avoid medications that contribute to heart failure.  There are other types of diabetes drugs that may be better for patients, especially those who already have heart disease or kidney disease, such as sulfonylureas (Diabinese, Amaryl), biguanides (Glucophage, Metformin, Glumetza) and meglitinides (Prandin, Starlix). On the other hand, the type of diabetes drugs called thiazolidinediones (such as Avandia, Actos) also increase the risk of developing heart failure.   And Farxiga has been found to increase the chances of being diagnosed with bladder cancer.  For more information on the risks of various diabetes drugs, see What everyone with type 2 diabetes should know.

Just keep in mind that all diabetes medications have some form of risk associated with it. Be sure to read the warnings on the labels of your medication or look for risks of your drug on www.drugs.com, and contact info@center4research.org if you have any questions.

All articles are reviewed and approved by Dr. Diana Zuckerman and  other senior staff.