Researchers have shown that the glucose-lowering drug liraglutide safely and effectively decreases the overall risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death for people with type 2 diabetes. These patients are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of people with type 2 diabetes. Liraglutide was also associated with a reduction in kidney disease and death from all causes. The report, published online on June 13, 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine, details findings from a global clinical trial called "Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome Results" or LEADER. This worldwide effort of 700 institutions in 32 countries marks the first time a diabetes drug with the main goal of lowering blood sugar has demonstrated such broad benefits for patients. "I've been excited about liraglutide for a long time because I think it's unique," said John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study, Director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Diabetes Care Center, and the Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. "This is the first diabetes drug that has shown across-the-board benefits for cardiovascular diseases, and this suggests it plays a role in treating atherosclerosis, which is what leads to heart attacks and strokes." The NEJM article is titled “Liraglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes in Type 2 Diabetes.” The publication of this research coincided with a presentation of the findings at the American Diabetes Association's 76th Scientific Sessions in New Orleans. The LEADER study was a randomized double-blind study of 9,340 adults with type 2 diabetes who were at high risk of heart disease.
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