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New concerns on sulfonylurea use

New research has fanned smouldering concerns over the safety of sulfonylureas for treating diabetes.

UK research, published online by Diabetologia, found adding in sulfonylureas to metformin significantly raised mortality.

The research supports the findings of a previous Canadian study ­ reported in Pulse in January ­ which found sulfonylureas raised the risk of total mortality and deaths from ischaemic events.

Study leader Dr Josie Evans, lecturer at the University of Dundee's faculty of medicine, said: 'Our research is in agreement with their analysis of the risks. People on sulfonylureas did have higher mortality.' Of 5,730 patients in the study, 1,000 died during the eight-year follow-up.

After adjusting for confounders, those on sulfonylureas alone had a 43 per cent higher risk of mortality than those on metformin monotherapy.

Patients on sulfonylureas and metformin had a 2.47-fold increased risk.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency ­ already investigating the issue after the Canadian study ­ said it would consider the new data. 'Existing advice stands at the current time until this review is concluded,' said a spokeswoman.

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