July 23, 2014 — The type-2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) has been linked to an 84% increase in hospitalization for heart failure compared to patients with diabetes who did not take Januvia, according to research published in JACC Heart Failure.
Researchers cautioned that the increased risk, if present at all, appears to be small. However, it persisted after they adjusted data for potential confounders. It also adds to a growing body of evidence linking diabetes drugs and heart failure.
Conclusions were based on data from 7,620 patients with diabetes and incident heart failure, of whom 887 used Januvia. Overall, patients on Januvia did not have higher rates of hospitalization or death. However, they were significantly more likely to be hospitalized with heart failure — 12.5% vs. 9%.
The authors of the study cautioned:
“With these considerations in mind, the present findings are important and do add to a small but growing body of evidence that suggests DPP-4 inhibitors as a class of drugs, and possibly diabetes drugs in general, may increase the risk of heart failure.”
Last October, the New England Journal of Medicine published results of a clinical trial linking Onglyza (saxagliptin) to a 27% increased risk of hospitalization for heart failure. The FDA opened an investigation in February.
Januvia and Onglyza both belong to a new class of diabetes drugs, dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-4) inhibitors. Unfortunately, long-term safety data is lacking because the first DPP-4 inhibitor was approved in 2006.
The American Diabetes Association currently recommends caution when prescribing diabetes medications to patients with heart failure.
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