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UCLA study shows metformin is safe for patients with advanced heart failure and diabetes mellitus
Date:1/7/2010

A new study has shown that metformin, a drug often used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, is safe for use in treating patients who have both diabetes and advanced heart failure. The study was published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and is now online (http://www.onlinejcf.com/article/S1071-9164(09)01132-4/abstract).

"There may be over two million individuals with heart failure and type II diabetes mellitus in the U. S. alone, so this important finding will have fairly broad impact," said Dr. Tamara Horwich, senior author of the study and an assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Previous studies have shown that diabetes increases not only the risk of developing heart failure, but also the risk of death among heart failure patients. This is due in large part to the fact that diabetes, because it increases the amounts of sugar and fat circulating in the bloodstream, accelerates the onset of coronary atherosclerosis. This hardening and thickening of blood vessels is the hallmark of atherosclerotic heart disease, the most common cause of death in the country. The optimal treatment for high glucose and fat blood levels among heart failure patients has not been demonstrated.

The new study involved 401 patients of an average age of 56, with type II diabetes and advanced systolic heart failure. This patient cohort was followed for 14 years in a comprehensive heart failure management program.

The study results suggest that, in patients with both advanced heart failure and diabetes, use of metformin is safe, and may be associated with better heart failure survival.

"The diabetes drug metformin previously carried a "black box warning" from the FDA against its use in treating diabetes in heart failure
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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