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Diabetes drugs may leave heart at greater risk


4 Star

Diabetes drugs may leave heart at greater risk

Our Review Summary

This is a story examining the outcomes of several large studies that have compared cardiovascular outcomes in individuals with type II diabetes who have more or less tightly controlled glucose levels.  


This story would have been improved by including some information graphics laying out impact of the two treatment approaches on kidney, eye, and nerve problems; and on cardiovascular and all cause mortality and lastly costs.  (Maybe this did appear in the print version; we only saw the online version.)


As it is, the story provides an extensive amount of data to the reader, but, as presented, it may be difficult to discern in the myriad of statistics and conflicting reports provided.  The value of intensive glucose control in patients with Type 2 diabetes has been under examination for a number of years.  Numerous studies have provided conflicting information leaving the question open.  The story provides a glimpse into the controversy and the confusing results.  


Cost seems to be a huge underlying issue, yet it was never discussed.



Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

It’s odd that a story that addresses the lack of cardiovascular risk reduction from the drugs in question would fail to discuss the cost of the drugs. More broadly, what is the cost of tight glucose control and the "frequent doses of pills or insulin, blood-sugar monitoring and doctor visits" mentioned in the last paragraph?



Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story indicated that there didn’t appear to be benefit from tighter control of circulating glucose levels. 



Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The main point of the story is the potential for harm associated with intensive treatment for type 2 diabetes.  However, cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes may be related to other common factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.  While there is evidence that intensive blood sugar treatment may not be beneficial, the story did not note the presence of other factors that may play a role, and therefore, lacked adequate context.  

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


The story presents extensive data.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


Although the initial paragraph is a bit over the top, the statistics related to cardiovascular disease are on target and appropriate.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story quotes three individuals with expertise about diabetes and diabetes treatment.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


This was a story examining whether tighter control of circulating glucose had beneficial impact on cardiovascular events and/or death as compared with less stringent control goals.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The widespread availability of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is clear from the story.


Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story highlights the apparently conflicting information coming out of long term studies attempting to define the benefits of intensive glucose control with oral drugs.  The information has been evolving over the past decade and continues to evolve.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


Does not appear to rely on a press release.

Total Score: 8 of 10 Satisfactory


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