Liraglutide, and the Link Between Diabetic and Cardiovascular Care

JUNE 29, 2017
Kevin Kunzmann

Diabetes has been and remains one of the most potent risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

For years in the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Preventive Cardiology program, Karol Watson, MD, co-director, has been aware that risk factor modification underlies all her work.

Watson, also a professor of medicine and cardiology at UCLA, noted in an interview with MD Magazine how successful cardiologists have been with other risk factors.

"We've done a great job with lipids and statins, and now PCSK9 inhibitors," Watson said. "We've done a great job with blood pressue. The one little nut we never could crack was diabetes."

There's been many new diabetes drugs recently, Watson noted. With them, there's been many good effects on lowering glycemia, or preventing microvascular disease. But macrovascular disease, which kills most cardiovascular patients, has not been efficiently reduced until late.

"We haven't had a lot of luck until recently," Watson said. "We have some drugs in the diabetes space that can do that."

Liraglutide, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Type 2 diabetes, is one such drug. It recently underwent safety noninferioirity studies for cardiovascular outcomes after being approved for reducing glycemia. 

Though the drug has not yet underwent FDA decision for cardiovascular events, Watson believes it will be approved — much to her benefit.

"We're surpised to find out some were coming out positively," Watson said. "I was as excited about that as I was some of the statin trials."

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