Context: No antidiabetic regimen has demonstrated the ability to reduce progression of coronary atherosclerosis. Commonly used oral glucose-lowering agents include sulfonylureas, which are insulin secretagogues, and thiazolidinediones, which are insulin sensitizers.
Objective: To compare the effects of an insulin sensitizer, pioglitazone, with an insulin secretagogue, glimepiride, on the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Design, setting, and participants: Double-blind, randomized, multicenter trial at 97 academic and community hospitals in North and South America (enrollment August 2003-March 2006) in 543 patients with coronary disease and type 2 diabetes.
Interventions: A total of 543 patients underwent coronary intravascular ultrasonography and were randomized to receive glimepiride, 1 to 4 mg, or pioglitazone, 15 to 45 mg, for 18 months with titration to maximum dosage, if tolerated. Atherosclerosis progression was measured by repeat intravascular ultrasonography examination in 360 patients at study completion.
Main outcome measure: Change in percent atheroma volume (PAV) from baseline to study completion.
Results: Least squares mean PAV increased 0.73% (95% CI, 0.33% to 1.12%) with glimepiride and decreased 0.16% (95% CI, -0.57% to 0.25%) with pioglitazone(P = .002). An alternative analysis imputing values for noncompleters based on baseline characteristics showed an increase in PAV of 0.64% (95% CI, 0.23% to 1.05%) for glimepiride and a decrease of 0.06% (-0.47% to 0.35%) for pioglitazone (between-group P = .02). Mean (SD) baseline HbA(1c) levels were 7.4% (1.0%) in both groups and declined during treatment an average 0.55% (95% CI, -0.68% to -0.42%) with pioglitazone and 0.36% (95% CI, -0.48% to -0.24%) with glimepiride (between-group P = .03). In the pioglitazone group, compared with glimepiride, high-density lipoprotein levels increased 5.7 mg/dL (95% CI, 4.4 to 7.0 mg/dL; 16.0%) vs 0.9 mg/dL (95% CI, -0.3 to 2.1 mg/dL; 4.1%), and median triglyceride levels decreased 16.3 mg/dL (95% CI, -27.7 to -11.0 mg/dL; 15.3%) vs an increase of 3.3 mg/dL (95% CI, -10.7 to 11.7 mg/dL; 0.6%) (P < .001 for both comparisons). Median fasting insulin levels decreased with pioglitazone and increased with glimepiride (P < .001). Hypoglycemia was more common in the glimepiride group and edema, fractures, and decreased hemoglobin levels occurred more frequently in the pioglitazone group.
Conclusion: In patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease, treatment with pioglitazone resulted in a significantly lower rate of progression of coronary atherosclerosis compared with glimepiride.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00225277.