Blood pressure drugs could protect against type 2 diabetes

pharmafile | November 12, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

Researchers have found that blood pressure drugs may directly reduce people’s risk of type 2 diabetes, a condition that an estimated 13.6 million in the UK are believed to be at high risk of developing. 

The British Heart Foundation conducted the researched and published their findings in The Lancet journal. This is the most detailed study to date, taking data from over 145,000 people in 19 randomised clinical trials across the globe. Researchers at the University of Oxford and University of Bristol found that a 5mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure, easy to achieve through the blood pressure lowering drugs, reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 11%.

All participants in the study were followed up for an average of 4.5 years. 9,883 of these participants developed type 2 diabetes. This risk reduction was confirmed using a genetic data analysis approach known as Mendelian randomisation, which uses naturally occurring genetic differences to randomly divide participants into groups, mimicking the effects of running a clinical trial.

Researchers additionally investigated the effects of five major types of blood pressure drugs from 22 clinical trials and compared these with a placebo. They found that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor-II blockers (ARBs) had the strongest protective effect, both reducing an individual’s relative risk of developing diabetes by 16%. Other forms of blood pressure-lowering drugs, however, were not protective.

Professor Kazem Rahimi, lead researcher of the study at the University of Oxford and consultant cardiologist, stated: “Current clinical guidelines do not provide clear recommendations on lowering blood pressure as a strategy to prevent type 2 diabetes. Our research provides clear evidence that giving ACE inhibitors or ARBs, which are widely available and affordable worldwide, to patients at high risk could curb the growing burden of type 2 diabetes.”

Across the study, those with genetically influenced lower blood pressure levels had a 12% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to those without the genetic associations.

Ana Ovey

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