A multinational group of researchers tried to determine which drugs for type 2 diabetes were better at prolonging life and preventing cardiovascular deaths. They reviewed the existing literature (i.e., they did a meta-analysis of prior clinical studies.
There are no clear winners. Placebo worked as well as the eight drug classes examined!
Unfortunately, the abstract doesn’t say how long the clinical studies lasted, only mentioning that they were at least 24 weeks long. It’s quite possible it would take at least three to five years to see an effect on death rates.
“Eight different diabetes drug classes examined in a meta-analysis failed to demonstrate improved cardiovascular or all-cause mortality compared with placebo.Researchers analyzed 301 randomized clinical trials of patients with type 2 diabetes, and found that, metformin outperformed some other drug classes for its effect on hemoglobin A1c levels, there were no significant differences in mortality — including when placebo was included as a drug class.”
“A central finding in this meta-analysis was that despite more than 300 available clinical trials involving nearly 120,000 adults and 1.4 million patient-months of treatment, there was limited evidence that any glucose-lowering drug stratified by coexisting treatment prolonged life expectancy or prevented cardiovascular disease,” the authors wrote.”
“The authors wrote that their findings are consistent with guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, which — like the algorithm from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists — recommend that metformin monotherapy be used for the initial treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. “Based on this review, clinicians and patients may prefer to avoid sulfonylureas or basal insulin for patients who wish to minimize hypoglycemia, choose GLP-1 receptor agonists when weight management is a priority, or consider SGLT-2 inhibitors based on their favorable combined safety and efficacy profile,” the authors wrote.”