A study led by Kevin Pantalone, DO, of Summa Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, found that sulfonylureas as a treatment for diabetes raised the risk of death by 50% when compared to metformin. The study looked at the electronic health records of almost 24,000 patients who began treatment for diabetes between October 1998 and October 2006. Approximately half began metformin, just over 4,000 each began glipizide or glyburide, and about 2,500 began treatment with glimepiride. The study excluded patients using other oral medications or Injectable medications, including insulin.
In follow-up averaging 2.2 years some 2,500 had died, and a comparison of the death rate between metformin and the various sulfonylureas showed significant comparative risks in the sulfonylureas. In patients with existing cardiovascular disease the increased risk remained significant except for glimepiride.
The study was presented in abstratct for at a convention, and has not been published in a peer reviewed journal yet.