Effects of thiazolidinediones and sulfonylureas in patients with diabetes.

Derosa, Giuseppe; Maffioli, Pamela
Diabetes technology & therapeutics; 2010 Jun;12(6):491-501. PMID: 20470234
Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy.


In the current literature there are different opinions about the use of thiazolidinediones or sulfonylureas. Some authors have reported that thiazolidinediones increase total body glucose disposal and reduce hepatic glucose production, reducing both peripheral and hepatic insulin resistance (or enhances both peripheral and insulin sensitivity). They consider thiazolidinediones a better drug compared to sulfonylureas because they do not induce hypoglycemia and they provide a protection for the pancreatic beta-cell. On the other side, some authors have reported that the improved glycemic control obtained with thiazolidinedione use is associated with an increase in body weight and a worsening of lipid profile, and they also warn providers to consider the potential for serious adverse cardiovascular effects of the treatment with rosiglitazone for type 2 diabetes mellitus, negating some of the benefits of the improved metabolic control. They have also reported that sulfonylureas are safer compared to thiazolidinediones because they give a better and faster improvement of glycated hemoglobin without giving the adverse effects reported with the use of thiazolidinediones. Considering the emerging discrepancies from these studies we decided to undertake a thorough literature search on Medline and Embase to evaluate the effects of thiazolidinediones and sulfonylureas in people with diabetes. In particular, this review examines the effects and the rationale and practicalities for the use of sulfonylureas or thiazolidinediones, alone and in combination therapy with other antidiabetes drugs, to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus considering, as primary end points, glycated hemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose, fasting plasma insulin, homeostasis model assessment indices, body weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and, when available, data on lipid profile. We also evaluated the effects of these two drugs on beta-cell function, insulin resistance, and inflammatory markers, also recording the frequency of adverse events such as edema and heart failure.