NYMC Faculty Publications


Cardiovascular Benefits and Safety of Non-insulin Medications Used in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2017




Diabetes mellitus is a growing in exponential proportions. If the current growth trend continues, it may result in every third adult in the United States having diabetes mellitus by 2050, and every 10th adult worldwide. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) confers a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events compared with non-diabetic patients, and CV mortality is responsible for around 80% mortality in this population. Patients with T2DM can have other features of insulin resistance-metabolic syndrome like hypertension, lipid abnormalities, and obesity which are all associated with increased CV disease and stroke risk even in the absence of T2DM. The management of a T2DM calls for employing a holistic risk factor control approach. Metformin is the first line therapy for T2DM and has been shown to have cardiovascular beneficial effects. Intense debate regarding the risk of myocardial infarction with rosiglitazone led to regulatory agencies necessitating cardiovascular outcome trials with upcoming anti-diabetic medications. Glucagon like peptide-1 agonists and sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors have shown promising CV safety and additional CV benefit in recent clinical trials. These drugs have favorable effects on traditional CV risk factors. The findings from these studies further support that fact that CV risk factor control plays an important role in reducing morbidity and mortality in T2DM patients. This review article will discuss briefly the cardiovascular safety and benefits of the oral medications which are currently being used for T2DM and will then discuss in detail about the newer medications being investigated for the treatment of T2DM.