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Therapies for type 2 diabetes: lowering HbA1c and associated cardiovascular risk factors

L Romayne Kurukulasuriya1* and James R Sowers12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, D109 Diabetes Center, UMC, One Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212, USA

2 Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, 800 Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65201, USA

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2010, 9:45  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-9-45

Published: 30 August 2010



To summarize data supporting the effects of antidiabetes agents on glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Studies reporting on the effects of antidiabetes agents on glycemic control, body weight, lipid levels, and blood pressure parameters are reviewed and summarized for the purpose of selecting optimal therapeutic regimens for patients with type 2 diabetes.


National guidelines recommend the aggressive management of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes, including weight loss and achieving lipid and blood pressure treatment goals. All antidiabetes pharmacotherapies lower glucose; however, effects on cardiovascular risk factors vary greatly among agents. While thiazolidinediones, sulfonylureas, and insulin are associated with weight gain, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors are considered weight neutral and metformin can be weight neutral or associated with a small weight loss. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and amylinomimetics (e.g. pramlintide) result in weight loss. Additionally, metformin, thiazolidinediones, insulin, and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists have demonstrated beneficial effects on lipid and blood pressure parameters.


Management of the cardiovascular risk factors experienced by patients with type 2 diabetes requires a multidisciplinary approach with implementation of treatment strategies to achieve not only glycemic goals but to improve and/or correct the underlying cardiovascular risk factors.