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Combining insulins with oral antidiabetic agents: effect on hyperglycemic control, markers of cardiovascular risk and disease

Authors Hermansen K, Mortensen LS, Hermansen M

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:4(3) Pages 561—574


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Kjeld Hermansen, Lene Sundahl Mortensen, Marie-Louise Hermansen

Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism C, Aarhus University Hospital, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark

Abstract: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Unfortunately, several potential barriers exist for CVD risk management in diabetes, including the need for significant lifestyle changes, potential problems with hypoglycemia, weight gain, injection tolerability, treatment complexity with current diabetes therapies and other, unmodifiable factors. Improving glycemic control may impact CVD risk. Treatment of T2DM usually starts with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. When these become insufficient, pharmacotherapy is required. Various oral antidiabetic drugs (OADs) are available that reduce hyperglycemia. The first line of therapy is usually metformin, since it does not increase weight and seems to have a beneficial effect on CVD mortality and risk factors. As T2DM progresses, insulin treatment becomes necessary for the majority of patients. The last few years have seen the development of long-acting, rapid-acting, and premixed insulin analog formulations. The treat-to-target algorithms of recent studies combining OADs plus insulin analogs have demonstrated that patients can reach glycemic treatment targets with low risk of hypoglycemia, greater convenience, and – with some analogs – limited weight gain vs conventional insulins. These factors may possibly have a positive influence on CVD risk. Future studies will hopefully elucidate the benefits of this approach.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperglycemia, insulin, oral antidiabetic drugs

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