The research, using information from the QResearch database - a joint not-for-profit project from the University of Nottingham and EMIS Health – compared diabetes drugs, particularly newer drugs (thiazolidinediones and gliptins) in their ability to control blood sugar levels and prevent serious complications.
Professors Julia Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland at the University of Nottingham used the QResearch database of anonymised patient records to analyse records of 469,688 adult patients with Type 2 diabetes from 2007-2015.
They found clinically important differences between different drugs (alone and in combination) and risk of five key outcomes – blindness, amputation, severe kidney failure, high blood sugar and low blood sugar.
Although the study is observational, and cannot draw firm conclusions about cause and effect, the researchers say the results may have implications for prescribing. Doctors and patients should be aware of them when assessing the overall risks and benefits of diabetes drugs.