Background/objectives: Data on the comparative effectiveness of oral antidiabetics on cardiovascular outcomes in a clinical practice setting are limited. This study sought to determine whether a differential risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) exists for the combination of a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor plus metformin versus a sulfonylurea derivative plus metformin or pioglitazone plus metformin.
Methods: We conducted a cohort study of 349,476 patients who received treatment with a DPP-4 inhibitor, sulfonylurea, or pioglitazone plus metformin for type 2 diabetes using the Korean national health insurance claims database. The incidence of total CVD and individual outcomes of myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure (HF), and ischemic stroke (IS) were assessed using the hazard ratios (HRs) estimated from a Cox proportional-hazards model weighted for a propensity score.
Results: During follow-up, 3,881 patients developed a CVD, including 428 MIs, 212 HFs, and 1,487 ISs. The adjusted HR with 95% confidence interval (CI) for a sulfonylurea derivative plus metformin compared with a DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin was 1.20 (1.09-1.32) for total CVD; 1.14 (1.04-1.91) for MI; 1.07 (0.71-1.62) for HF; and 1.51 (1.28-1.79) for IS. The HRs with 95% CI for total CVD, MI, HF, and IS for pioglitazone plus metformin were 0.89 (0.81-0.99), 1.05 (0.76-1.46), 4.81 (3.53-6.56), and 0.81 (0.67-0.99), respectively.
Conclusions: Compared with a DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin, treatment with a sulfonylurea drug plus metformin was associated with increased risks of total CVD, MI, and IS, whereas the use of pioglitazone plus metformin was associated with decreased total CVD and IS risks.