ACTOS has different effects from the other anti-diabetic drug thiazolidinedione rosiglitazone due to differences in molecular structure.
The research supports the cardiovascular safety of ACTOS and its benefits regarding improved blood glucose and blood lipid levels for patients with type 2 diabetes.
This retrospective analysis of case records from a large managed care database of diabetes patients has shown that the adjusted relative risk of stroke for the pioglitazone group was 20 percent lower than the group not receiving pioglitazone.
Similarly, the risk of heart attack over the study period was 38 percent lower in patients receiving pioglitazone than in those taking an anti-diabetes drug regimen that did not include pioglitazone.
"The results of this analysis are very welcome and support the findings from the PROactive study of pioglitazone for secondary prevention of vascular events which showed a reduction in stroke and heart attack in this high risk population," John Betteridge, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at University College, London said.
In addition, the GLAI study reflects the cardioprotective strength of pioglitazone. A new analysis of data from the first three months of this six-month head-to-head study of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, in which the endpoint was the change in serum lipids, demonstrated that initial treatment with a starting dose of pioglitazone (30 mg) was more effective than a starting dose of rosiglitazone (4 mg) in improving blood glucose (HbA1c) levels and lipid levels.
Also, researchers found that in addition to lowering HbA1c significantly more than rosiglitazone, pioglitazone also significantly decreased triglyceride levels and non-HDL cholesterol (a predictor of cardiovascular death), and markedly improved HDL-C levels ("good" cholesterol) versus rosiglitazone.
"A likely explanation for the different effects on heart attack and strokes between the two drugs could be the favourable effect of pioglitazone in increasing HDL cholesterol without adverse effects on LDL as demonstrated in the GLAI study," Professor Betteridge said.
The study is published in the journal of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.